We’ve all been there at some point in our life. Everything seems to be moving along smoothly when something suddenly happens; a challenge, a barrier, a crisis. These events can range anywhere from being mildly inconvenient to downright terrible and sometimes devastating. When situations like this arise, we all have ultimately one choice to make how we will choose to respond.
When you boil it down, that is really how our entire life unfolds. We are making a never ending series of choices about how we will interact with the events and circumstances surrounding us. Many of these choices occur unconsciously as part of our conditioned behaviour patterns. Understanding that we always retain the power and the right to make a conscious choice about our reactions is where we can transform challenges into opportunities.
Consider the idea of personal perception. Every person observes and interprets the world around them from a unique vantage point. I remember very clearly an incident about 5 years ago when I was having lunch on a restaurant patio with a few of my colleagues. The patio was next to a very busy street. About 20 minutes into our meal, we were all startled by a large crash followed by an excitable YELP sound. As I turned in my seat to examine the incident, we saw a new sports car t-boned by an older sedan. Fortunately, the collision had taken place at a relatively slow speed so there were no injuries, just two very upset drivers. The YELP sound had come from a tow truck driver who had been parked literally across the street. He was so excited that an accident had occurred right in front of his truck meaning he would be the first tow provider on the scene. Talk about drastically opposing perspectives! These two unfortunate drivers were caught up in a very unpleasant experience while the tow truck entrepreneur had his latest gig essentially fall into his lap.
What’s most interesting about this example is that it illustrates to me that the world around us simply exists, nothing more, nothing less. It is not until we apply our personal perception along with all of our expectations and beliefs, that events become positive or negative. Since we are creative by nature and always have 100% control over our thoughts, we can then choose to seek out the positives in life. When something happens to us that initially appears to be negative, we have an opportunity to reject our habitual reaction and create a new, more empowering belief about that event.
I have personally made a habit of this type of mentality and I continue to develop this capability with every passing day. I am becoming someone who can cherish the tough times. When adversity strikes, I am often able to control my attitude and remain focused on the positive rather than being consumed by the apparent misfortune. I then remind myself of Robert Collier’s quote, “In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage.”
Dustin Carter is no stranger to adversity. We recently featured his YouTube video on the Ignite Your Essence website. Dustin was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder at age 5. The doctors were forced to amputate the majority of all of his limbs. Despite his obvious challenges, Dustin is now a top student wrestler working towards a full wrestling scholarship. He is a tremendous inspiration to everyone who meets him and he gives hope to others who may be facing physical challenges.
Many successful entrepreneurs have been able to transform challenging life situations into business building opportunities. One of the best examples of this is Robert Allen. His book, Nothing Down: How to Buy Real Estate with Little or No Money Down, went to the top of the New York Times Best-Seller list after a controversial ad he ran to promote it. In the ad, Allen claimed that you could take him to any city, take his wallet away, give him $100 and he could buy a piece of real estate. After Allen’s book had achieved great success, a reporter from the LA Times challenged his claim in the ad and called him a fraud. In order to prove himself, Allen was forced to take the challenge and prove he could actually achieve the feat. Not knowing if he would actually be able to pull it off, Robert Allen began to worry and realized that he would be professionally ruined if he was not able to deliver. In a formally arranged meeting, the reporter met Allen in San Francisco, took his wallet and gave him $100. With his name and credibility on the line, Allen took the $100 and purchased 7 properties worth $700,000 in a 57 hour window. Needless to say, he went on to achieve enormous success in his career.
How would your life change if you were able to transform a negative event into a positive experience? What kind of results could you produce if you learned to embrace adversity and treat it as an opportunity for growth? Regardless of the nature of the challenge you are facing, decide to become the kind of person who embodies this philosophy and you will most assuredly begin to produce incredible things in your life while providing inspiration to those around you!