The Successful Get Better, Not Bitter

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

I’ve spent twenty years teaching people how to be peak performers. And quite frankly, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing people achieve more than they ever thought possible.

However, there will be times of disappointment in life. No matter how much I share the strategies of peak performance and no matter how hard you try, you and I will not be successful at everything in life. There will be times of disappointment.

How you handle those disappointments will determine your future. You will either get BETTER or BITTER…period. There is no other alternative. That’s just the way it is.

The people that get bitter ask themselves “why” questions. They respond to their disappointments by asking why they have to “GO” through this. They spend hours and sometimes weeks, months, and years trying to figure out “why.” “Why do I always have to be the one to clean up? Why didn’t I get that new position at corporate headquarters? Why didn’t God heal me?” Et cetera. Et cetera.

When you keep asking yourself “why” you have to go through something, you’re basically telling yourself that life has treated you unfairly. Those thoughts, repeated often enough, will make you BITTER.

The truth is, you’ll have a lot of “why” questions in life for which you’ll never have an answer. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for answers. You should. Finding answers is what education is all about. Just don’t get stuck on “why.”

By contrast, people who get BETTER ask a different question. When disappointments come, they ask themselves how they can “GROW” through this. In other words, they consciously look for the lesson in the loss. They know there is something to be learned in the midst of disappointment, and they’re going to find it.

The lesson may be professional. The loss of a job promotion may tell you it’s time to update your skills. The lesson may be personal. A sense of burnout may teach you to say “no” to some things in life. Whatever the case, there will always be a lesson in the loss.

In fact, there’s a lot more to be learned from the bad times than the good times. It’s the bad times that make you look for new and better ways to achieve your goals. It’s the bad times that push you to make the changes you need to make. And it’s the bad times that build your character — if you focus on “how” you can GROW through the disappointment.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says we should “give thanks in all things.” That may sound strange, even impossible to do in the midst of difficultly, but it’s great advice. If you look for the lesson in the difficulty, you can give thanks, and you will become a better person. After all, fruit grows in the valleys of difficulty, not on the mountaintops of success.

Action:  Select a recent loss, failure, or disappointment in your life. Determine the lesson in your situation. Now decide what you will do differently NEXT TIME.