Are you at the top of your game? Are you doing your best and getting the best results in every situation every day?
The answer for most people is “no.” Because typically they’ve fallen into one or more of the TOP TEN failure traps.
Over the last two Tuesday Tips, I outlined the first five failure traps:
- Quitting too soon
- Unwillingness to work hard
- Uncontrolled anger
- Not putting things in perspective
- Holding on to self-limiting beliefs
If you have any of those failure traps going on in your life, your head, your work, or your relationships, you’re going to have some major problems. You’re not going to go very far.
So please read these carefully. See if any of them apply to you.
► Failure Trap #6: Inability to handle adversity
I’m a huge proponent of positive attitudes and faith. Both of them can be built and I’ve seen both of them bring about miraculous results.
But neither one of them or anything else can keep all adversities away from you. You’re going to have some problems.
However, the difference between winners and losers is HOW they respond to their adversities. Winners do something that changes the adversity into something better. Losers become something that serves no useful purpose.
Which one sounds more like you? Perhaps this story can help you figure out which one you are.
A young woman told her mother about how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots; in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed Oolong tea. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. The she ladled the Oolong out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she said, “Tell me what you see.”
“Carrots, eggs, and Oolong tea,” she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She noted they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the Oolong. The daughter smiled as she smelled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in firm. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hard.
The Oolong tea was unique, however. After it was in the boiling water, it had changed the water color and taste.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot that seems firm, but with pain do you wilt? Become soft and wimpy?
Are you an egg that starts with a good heart but turns hard with adversity? Does your internal spirit become cold and stiff after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship, or some other trial? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside, you’ve become cold and hard?
Or are you like the Oolong tea? The tea actually changes the hot water or the very circumstances that bring the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases fragrance and flavor. If you’re like the tea, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
Of course, it takes some skill to work like Oolong tea. We’re not automatically or genetically programmed to handle adversity with great skill. But you CAN learn how to do it. That’s why I’m offering you the following.
BONUS: Get your free copy of Dr. Z’s whitepaper on 50 Ways to Get UNSTRESSED in a STRESSED-OUT World. And check out Dr. Z’s limited-time offer of a 25% savings on his live and virtual programs.
► Failure Trap #7: Lack of gratitude.
Everyone has a choice to make. You can be thankful or stressed out.
As you can guess, winners have a lot more gratitude going on inside them while the losers are a lot more controlled by the stresses in and around them.
But it’s NOT a matter of luck; it’s a matter of choice.
Unfortunately, the media is heavily focused on all the stresses in the world. They follow the 95-5 rule: Dish out 95% bad news and sprinkle in 5% good news. So when I appeared on ABC news, talking about an “attitude of gratitude,” the TV anchor challenged me. He asked how a person could be grateful when there are so many problems in the world, in our organizations, and even our own lives.
I explained that wasn’t the issue. Problems are merely a distraction; it’s our response that makes all the difference. And you can always choose to be grateful. Better yet, an attitude of gratitude lifts you up and pushes you forward instead of pulling you down and holding you back.
If you’re not a grateful person, you’ve fallen victim to Failure Trap #7. You may be living on autopilot, taking things for granted, and overlooking the blessings in your life. That is NOT the way to find happiness or success.
Instead, become consciously aware of what you have to be thankful for. As Ruth Ann Schabacker’s says, “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” In other words, look for those things and be grateful.
I find this poem to be a great reminder of how to do that.
“Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.”
As I said above, an inability to handle adversity is Failure Trap #6. Interestingly enough, when you learn to be more grateful, you defeat both traps 6 and 7. Get to it