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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Its not what happens to you, but what you do about it

Its not what happens to you, but what you do about it that matters!

Each of us encounters setbacks in our lives. It might be big, such as the loss of a loved one, or it might be small. However, its not what happens to you that matters. What matters is what you do about it.

Overcoming The Odds:
An Example

Take for instance the example of Oscar Pistorius. He is a double amputee, which means that he had both of his lower legs amputated. To each and every one of us, I’m sure; this would be a tremendous setback that would eclipse any problems that you or I might be facing right now.

One might expect someone like him to feel dejected about his life, about how he was dealt an unfair hand in the game of life. But did he wallow in self pity? No, he didn’t. Today, he is a world class athlete who holds numerous world records in track and field and is currently attempting to qualify for the Olympics.

If someone like him, who has lost 2 of his limbs, can achieve something so exceptional, certain you or I, who are complete in body and mind, is capable of achieving so much more.

When we face setbacks, we might feel sorry for ourselves, feel angry or negative about it, or try to escape from the problem by resorting to alcohol. However, would something like that solve the problem? No, it wouldn’t. That would only exacerbate the problem and lead us down a downward spiral of despair.

Other people might do nothing and try to forget the problem. Well, you know the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What We should Do
What we should do is to turn the problem into a source of strength. Its not what happens to you that matters, what matters is what you do about it. Instead of moaning or grumbling, what we should do is to use the problem as a source of motivation to improve upon the situation.

For instance, there was this instance where I was given negative feedback about my personality. I was told that I was too cold, aloof and impersonal with people. Was I upset about it? You bet I was. However, after doing some self introspection, I felt that the feedback that I received was true. I can’t change the past. What has happened has already happened and can’t be changed.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself and doing nothing, what I could do was to try to change the future and improve myself. This motivated me to try to improve upon my interpersonal communication skills by joining more social activities such as Toastmasters International, a public speaking organization, and by reading and researching more about interpersonal communication in general. One great book about the subject is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Today, I can confidently say that I am a better person as a result of this incident.

To reiterate the main point of this passage, its not what happens to you, but what you do about it that matters. We can’t change the past, but we still have the power to shape our own destinies. We can choose how we want to handle our setbacks. Instead of wallowing in self pity, why not use it as a source of motivation and strength and make a positive change for the better. You will become a better person if you choose to put your mind into it.