Success, Adversity & Sandcastles

"Time and Time Again..."

“Time and Time Again…”

Adversity: a difficult situation or condition: misfortune or tragedy: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune (see adverse)

We are in some very interesting times my friends. If I had to pick one word to best define these times, it would have to be “change”. Depending on your individual circumstance and perspective it might be any number of different words like chaos, crazy, wonderful, exciting, tumultuous, catastrophic or horrific. But “Change” would fit for every single one of us, regardless of our individual circumstance.

One of the things I’ve noticed about successful people is their ability to focus and remain focused under even the most adverse conditions and changes…which sort of sets the stage for this little yarn I just made up…

A holy man is minding his spinning wheel one day as a young stranger approaches him cautiously from the West. “How can I help you?” he asks the young stranger. “I want to be a better man.” replied the young man. “And why do you wish to be a better man?” asked the holy man. “So I can leave the world a better place.” the young man relied. “Ahhh”…said the old man, “then answer me this” he continued, “I’ve only one tool I can give you this day, so tell me whether you prefer to be a better man at preventing adversity, or by overcoming it?” The young man pondered for a moment and then smiled and said, “There is already more than enough adversity to keep me busy overcoming!” And with that the holy man, looking through the young man said, “Then so you shall be…God willing.” The holy man slowly rose to his feet and excused himself as the young man trotted back down the hill where he was instantly run over and killed by an 800lb bull that had come through the gate the young man had opened, and in his haste forgot to close behind him. “When will they ever learn?” the old man thought to himself as he put away his yarn…

Responses to my Simms posting the other day led me to look in on some old friends who have become quite successful in their respective fields. One person in particular, who I’ve always admired and respected, has overcome more adversity than most of us could ever imagine to become a widely respected motivational speaker. I read her following words…“Hey friends, thought I’d share this link so you’d know what I’ve been up to. I’m out there spreading positive energy and hope you are too.”…and I thought “focus” is great, but to be successful you need to have “positive energy” behind the focus! And then I read the topic of one of her talks…“Overcoming adversity and creating a new plan when your existing plan is not working out.”…which inspired today’s writing.

There is something else I have noticed about the community of successful people in general. They never seem to stray from the green pastures of political correctness and they avoid controversial political discussion as if it were the Ebola Virus! To the “overcoming” mind that’s a very sensible move. But in the “preventative” world it has proven to be a very, very costly mistake as our young stranger learned the hard way…and history herself has repeated time and time again…

“WWII could have been prevented and millions of lives saved if only our leaders had taken more seriously what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf and said in his speeches.”

But as we all know, “our leaders” are all too often part of the problem! …Which would seem to indicate that our “preventative” minds have been disengaged. Could it be because the “overcoming” mind has been in hyper drive sucking up all the oxygen responding to crisis after manufactured crisis?

Regardless; there seems to be a rapidly building consensus that the small brush fire has become the raging inferno, and the small wave a potentially devastating tsunami that far too few of us are really prepared for. The great irony is that the successful people who have tuned all of this out are the ones with the greatest skills, talents and instincts to have prevented it all in the first place! When Rush Limbaugh coined the term “low information voters”, he wasn’t only referring to the Obama-phone Lady!

I’m thinking of proposing a “Back to School Workshop for Successful Entrepreneurs ONLY” to my consultant friend. Here’s the tag line, “How to deal with the adversity of losing your business, your home, your family, your country and your life BEFORE it happens, by being BETTER INFORMED!!!” Snowball’s chance in Hell? How about a more appropriate metaphor? How about a Sandcastle’s chance in front of the Gathering Storm?

And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually. ~ Jimi Hendrix

When will they ever learn?


Chip Murray: Wide Awake

About Chip Murray

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