The great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless stories of people (and companies) having second, third and even fourth acts. Okay, so things didn’t work out the way you had planned, or you failed miserably, or, or, or … I could go on and on with examples of things that have caused people pain, heartache or money. But no matter what occurred, they then had a decision to make … move on or give up. Sometimes moving on is a whole lot easier being said, than done … but it is truly your only option if you want to be successful.
When bad things happen, I simply define them as SETBACKS. Setbacks come in many forms, but they all take a toll on us in one way or another. Setbacks can be caused by us, by other people, by nature, or by poor health that we did or didn’t have anything to do with. Today, I am not going to get into why the setback occurred, but I would like to address what you should consider doing next. In my opinion, this one point has everything to do with you succeeding or failing in life.
One man decided to climb a mountain that no one ever had made it to the top. Fifteen people before him had died attempting to conquer this 29,028 foot high beast. The first time he failed miserably, but the next year he tried again and succeeded. I guess we should introduce Mr. Fitzgerald to Sir Edmund Hillary; the first man to climb Mt. Everest. But, how about attempting something totally absurd, where 756 men who attempted it, all died. Admiral Robert Peary wanted to stand at the top of the world, the North Pole, and he finally did it on his 8th attempt.
But, these people put themselves in harm’s way, attempting what seemed to all, to be impossible; they caused their own misery. How do you deal with setbacks that you had nothing to do with? U.S. Triathlon Champion, Karen Smyers, had more setbacks thrown at her on her journey to the championship then any human should ever have to endure. A storm window broke-out in a severe storm and sliced her hamstring requiring and operation to repair it. Then she got struck by an eighteen-wheel truck that broke six ribs along with giving her a lung contusion and shoulder separation. But we aren’t done yet. She took a terrible spill on a bicycle and broke her collar-bone. All of those injuries seemed small compared to her then getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which required six hours of surgery to remove the tumors. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all and she had to have a second operation to remove the remaining cancer. I would call that quite a list of setbacks, but she never gave up.
I would like to refer you to the profound words of former President Calvin Coolidge who said: “Press on. Nothing can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, always will solve, the problems of the human race.” If I leave you with anything today, it is for you to consider taking advantage of something that no scientist has ever found, but we all know exists: the amazing power of the Human Spirit.
BAD things are going to happen to all of us, but our success rests on what we do next. You might have to step back, regroup, and heal, while you are regaining your spirit and strength. But, just say to yourself, BAD stands for “Begin Again Determined”. You see…