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Adversity? Just Don’t Quit!

July 21, 2020
We only truly fail when we blame others and stop trying to learn from our mistakes.

Epictetus, the Roman Stoic was one of two great philosophers of the Roman Empire, the other being Marcus Aurelius. Epictetus was a slave, Aurelius an Emperor. Epictetus once said, “It is difficulties that show what men are.”

It’s not what happens to us, rather it’s how we respond. Are you willing to fail forward? Knocked down seven times, stand up eight! History is replete with shining examples of men and women who bounced back from setbacks, challenges, bankruptcy and failure. We only truly fail when we blame others and stop trying to learn from our mistakes. Each of us is 100 percent accountable for our actions and decisions

We all suffer. If you live long enough, things are going to happen that you have no control over. Death of a loved one, betrayal, financial setbacks, divorce, surgery, auto accidents, floods, earthquakes and oh yes, COVID-19. The list is long. Again, it’s not what happens but how we respond. There is no better teacher than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time

Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be the greatest President in U.S. history. He experienced more failure than any other President, both personally and professionally. A common list of the failures of Abraham Lincoln (along with a few successes) is:

        1831 - Lost his job

        1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature

        1833 - Failed in business

        1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)

        1835 - Sweetheart died

        1836 - Had nervous breakdown

        1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker

        1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress

        1846 - Elected to Congress (success)

        1848 - Lost re-nomination

        1849 - Rejected for land officer position

        1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate

        1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President

        1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate

        1860 - Elected President (success)

That looks like a pretty glum résumé, making you wonder how he ever made it to the top. The answer? Resilience. He just never quit.

Winston Churchill delivered one of the shortest speeches in England’s history at his alma mater. His closing remarks went like this: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

 So just how does one bounce back from adversity?

1)       Decide to overcome. Get back on the horse.

2)        Study men and women who have bounced back. Read biographies.

3)        Journal. Ask yourself, what can I do different or better next time?

4)        Find mentors. Seek out men and women who have overcome setbacks and challenges and ask them how they did it.

5)        Pray. Ask whatever higher power you believe in for strength.

6)        Meditate. Listen to the small still voice for answers. Be still.

7)        Resolve to keep going. Just don’t quit. It’s a choice.

“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”

             -Ulysses S Grant, President 

Let’s listen to the philosophers of old. “Just Don’t Quit!” Abe Lincoln never did.

Mindset is a powerful tool for every member of a contracting company, from owner and CSR to salesperson and tech, and everyone in between. To download a free training package on mindset, complete with valuable tools including industry research, online course, instructional webinar and much more, visit EGIA.org/CBS-Mindset.

Mark Matteson is an inspiring speaker and the author of the international bestseller, Freedom from Fear. For over 20 years, Mark’s positive humor and peak-performance tools have impacted organizations around the globe, igniting personal and professional success for tens of thousands of people. To watch a few short videos showcasing Mark, visit https://bit.ly/2MiHW37. To book Mark, call 206/697-0454 or email [email protected]. To Listen to his podcast, click on the following links. Google Play: https://bit.ly/38k30jv Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3eXOhgU

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