I have a really good friend who has had a rough go of it over the past year or so. Without getting into details or betraying his confidence, he has dealt with significant personal, professional, and financial issues – sometimes all at once.
At one point, I said to him in an exasperated tone, “It (life) isn’t supposed to be like this – it’s just not fair.” He paused thoughtfully for a moment, drew in a deep breath, and looked me squarely in the eyes and spoke with a measured tone.
“I don’t look at it that way. If you want to live a full life, you have to accept that sometimes things happen that are outside of your control. So, while the last few months have been some of the toughest of my life, I won’t let it define me or my family. In the long run, we will be stronger and better off.” Knowing what I know about his particular situation, this was one of the most courageous things anyone has ever said to me in the face of adversity.
How many times do we have bad things happen to us and complain that life has given us a raw deal? Even worse, how many of us allow those unfair events to negatively color the positive parts of our lives? For many of us, the answer is far too often.
Just as in life, things out of your control will go wrong in the world of promotional products: ship dates are missed, proofs are incorrect, clients shop your ideas for a better price, and business is lost for seemingly no reason. When events conspire to negatively impact your business, you have a choice:
Lament the unfairness of the situation and wallow in self-pity OR
Learn what you can from the experience and move on, keeping positive about the future
By choosing the latter, we take control of the only thing we can in situations that are ruled by outside forces – our response. Remaining positive, learning from the experience, and focusing on the future with your head held high is a much better (and healthy) approach than blaming the world for a bad situation.
One last thought about my friend. Not only does he have an incredible amount of personal resolve, he is one of the happiest people I know because he chooses to be. Despite the significant challenges of the past year, he remains positive about the future. In the face of life’s unfair dealings, isn’t that the best approach?