The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame shot to the top of the Amazon bestseller list in the wake of the devastating fire that ravaged the historical landmark. The fire, however, is not the first time the cathedral has been a victim of destruction — or restoration.
Like the devastation of one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, every obstacle is unique to us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Hopelessness. Depression. Anger.
We’re dissatisfied with our jobs, our relationships. We’re trying to get somewhere, but something stands in the way. We blame our bosses, the economy, other people, or we write ourselves off or our dreams and goals as impossible. When really one thing is at fault – our attitude and approach.
Former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove outlined when he described what happens to businesses in tumultuous times: “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength. It’s a rather amazing and even touching feat. This is not an article of gushing, hazy optimism. This is not a piece that tells you to deny when stuff sucks or to turn the other cheek when you’ve been completely screwed over. There will be no folksy sayings or cute but utterly ineffectual proverbs.
When we’re having trouble finding a job, running low on funds, stuck in a bad relationship, locking horns with some aggressive opponent, we need to know that there is a way. We have no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for how long, any light at the end of it is a hope rather than a reality.
Where one person sees a crisis, another can see opportunity. Desperation, despair, fear, powerlessness – these reactions are functions of our perceptions. You must realize: nothing makes us feel this way; we choose to give in to such feelings.
We decide what we will make of each and every situation. They can throw us in jail, label us, deprive us of our possessions or freedom, but they’ll never control our thoughts, our beliefs, our reactions.
The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. Everything can be flipped, seen with this kind of gaze. Or we can fight it the entire way. The result is the same. The obstacle still exists. One just hurts less. The benefit is still there below the surface.
When people are rude and disrespectful, they underestimate us (a huge advantage), when they are conniving, we don’t have to apologize when we make an example out of them.
The obstacle is not only turned upside down but used as a catapult.
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