Setbacks can take us down or set us up for a comeback. The decision is truly yours. I once heard a mathematical equation that related to this very thing. This small equation, if understood correctly, changed my life forever.
The equation was as follows: Events (E) + Responses (R) = Outcome (O). We have no control of the events that come our way in life. Tragedies, death of loves ones, acts of God, devastations…bad things do happen to good people. It doesn’t make sense and trying to rationalize pain and suffering only produces more pain and suffering. We are all equipped with the ability to accept and move on in the face of adversity by placing some things in the “I don’t understand” category. How we respond to those unforeseen events, however, have everything to do with the outcome. Think about it. Someone rear-ends you at a stoplight. (Event) You can approach the situation positively with calmness and clarity OR you can choose to respond negatively, rant and rave and create a scene that may lead to harm or event your arrest. (Response) Same event only one response produces a positive outcome while the other…well, you get the picture.
Perhaps the greatest motivator is a true-life story of one who has persevered against overwhelming odds. Robert had great success at an early age including receiving an Academy Award for his nomination in a 1992 film. But life dealt some difficult blows between 1996-2001 and he was arrested numerous times on drug-related charges. His setbacks led to probation, jail time and eventually court ordered drug rehabilitation. After five years of setbacks he made the decision to respond (not react) and have a comeback. His positive response to those unfortunate events paved the path for a successful journey beyond his wildest expectations. After much diligence, persistence and focus, “Robert” known by the world as Robert Downey, secured the lead role in two widely successful movie franchises, Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. Through perseverance, believing in second chances and not listening to the naysayers, today Downey is one of the most popular actors in Hollywood.
None of us know what tomorrow holds. Let’s face it, life isn’t fair. Regardless of the events that may come our way, however, possessing an unwavering faith, remaining focused and staying the course will often result in a much better outcome than the alternative.
If you are faced with an event that has set you back and hurt you emotionally or physically, remember the equation E + R= O and make it part of your everyday decisions. It is never too late to change and create a new life. Second chances do happen. How others see you begins with how you see yourself. Your response to the uncontrollable events will make a world of difference in the outcome…and your ultimate destination. Who knows? The change you make in yourself may very well be the one that changes the world, one life at a time.
Remember, it’s not how you start that matters, it’s how you finish. Stay focused and finish strong.