Many (many!) years ago, I was a decent high school running back on a great high school football team. I competed hard for the starting position and left it all on the field. But ultimately, I ended up in a backup role.
While disappointed, our team was dominating every opponent and we were having fun marching toward a perfect record. Why complain?
But in the second to last game of the season, our starting running back went down with a devastating shoulder injury. It was clear he wouldn’t be returning to the game. This was my time to shine!
I made the most of my minutes and had a great game en route to another lopsided victory. The final game of the season was more of the same. It was a glorious end to a perfect season. (Queue: “Glory Days”)
But I had a choice to make about how I perceived my final season of football.
I could have lamented all the wasted opportunities to showcase my talent on the field. I could have turned a positive into a negative.
What if I had started from the beginning of the season? I could have set records. I could have piled up numerous touchdowns. I could have been a MVP candidate! Why do I always get the raw deal?
Or I could view the final two games as an amazing blessing.
What a gift to carry the ball in a meaningful game! What an honor to perform in front of my teammates! What if I had never had this opportunity? How LUCKY was I?
The lens we choose to view life is our own choice. I chose the positive lens.
And we all have that same choice to make in our every day lives.
Positive Thoughts Will Motivate Us
In our work lives, our satisfaction is largely driven by how we view success. Of course, we want to strive for more. Of course, we have to be relentless in our pursuit of excellence. But we must find the balance between ambition and appreciation.
Are we fixated on the clients we lose or grateful for the clients we have? Do we focus on the thousands of rejections we receive in the sales process or celebrate the times we break through? Do we give up if we get passed over for a promotion or double down on our effort to prove our true worth? Do we focus on our defeats or treasure our wins?
If we search for the negative, we will find it.
But if we choose to focus on the positive, we can keep fighting for greatness!
Everyone Has the Ability to Stay Positive
The same is true in our personal lives. Do we obsess over the relationships that drive us crazy? Or do we appreciate the incredible love of the solid relationships in our lives? Do we spiral into a black hole over our mounting financial obligations? Or do we celebrate the small victories that deliver income? Do we focus on the flaws of our spouse? Or are we grateful we found someone who will tolerate our own foibles and shortcomings?
Our happiness is largely dictated by the lens we choose to view our lives.
But It’s Not Easy
Staying positive is a choice. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s a difficult choice!
Getting rejected can be humbling. Losing clients can be devastating. Platooning in our career can be demeaning. Financial uncertainly can be gut-wrenching. Relationships can be complicated. Marriage can be a battle.
Things aren’t always going to go our way. Nobody goes through life without battle scars. We are all going to face adversity at some point in our lives. But we can’t allow those losses to sap our motivation
It’s okay to get knocked on our heels every now and then. That’s life. If we aren’t getting hurt, we probably aren’t trying hard enough.
We shouldn’t try to bubble-wrap our world!
But we must view these setbacks as temporary. We must see the possibility of better times ahead. We have too much talent to throw in the towel and settle for a fate below our potential!
Resilience is a Mindset
Our resilience is fueled by our mindset. Without a positive outlook, we don’t stand a chance. Why? Because the difficulties we face are real and emotional. They have the ability to overwhelm our senses and test our resolve and strength. Setbacks are a worthy adversary. And negativity can be an empty security blanket to deal with the pain.
To win, we have to actively fight back!
If we can muster the strength to focus on the positive in the middle of a storm, we can overcome even the most difficult setback.
And we all have that ability. Everyone has the potential to be resilient. It all comes down to perspective.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. —Alphonse Karr
Every rose has its thorn. But never forget that every thorn has its rose!
Until next week, keep smiling!