Shake It Off and Step Up

August 30, 2011

Everyone has some adversity in their lives.  It is a normal part of living.  It is how you handle adversity that makes a difference in the outcome.  If you give up, you will never see any positive changes in your life, but instead will spend the rest of your years wallowing in self-pity.

With the unemployment rate in Michigan, many people have found themselves without the financial means to support themselves.  Some simply sit at home and wonder what they will do to get through these hard economic times, giving in the adversity of unemployment.  Others are out and about finding other ways to earn at least a small income.  They are overcoming their adversity.

There is a parable about an old mule that fell in a well.  The farmer heard the braying of the mule, and decided that that neither the well nor the mule were worth saving.  He gathered his neighbors together to help him fill in the well.  With the first few shovels full of dirt, the mule panicked, braying even louder.  But the farmer and his neighbors continued to shovel the dirt.

Then it dawned on the old mule that each time a shovel full of dirt landed on him, he could shake it off and step up.  So each time the dirt hit his back, he repeated, “Shake it off and step up.”  The old mule fought his panic, and just kept shaking it off and stepping up.  He kept encouraging himself, and it wasn’t long before he could, tired and battered, triumphantly climb out the well.

What started out as something that should have buried him actually became the blessing that saved his life.  He had overcome his adversity.  He did not give in to panic, self-pity, or bitterness in the situation.  Instead, he found a way to turn the situation into a positive one, using his adversity to benefit him.

If you handle your adversity in the same way, you too can climb out of that well.  You have to examine the situation in order to resolve your issues of panic in order to make rational decisions.  First think of the worst that can happen, and then find the different solutions that you can pursue in overcoming your adversity.   In remaining positive, you can find a way to use it to your advantage, quite possibly with a better outcome than you imagined.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid & Northern Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: Daehyun Park

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