Archive for the ‘Misfortune’ Category

Be fabulous and don’t let any one thing ruin your life.”
~ Kylee Halko,

Awesome advice, don’t you think?  Especially when you consider it was offered by a seven-year-old who suffers with Progeria.


Kylee with her parents and Barbara Walters.

For those who might not know, Progeria is a rare, fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children. Signs include growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged-looking skin, stiffness of joints, hip dislocation, generalized atherosclerosis, cardiovascular (heart) disease and stroke. Children with Progeria die of atherosclerosis (heart disease) at an average age of thirteen years.

Kylee’s life is certainly not what most of us would consider the optimal circumstances to be fabulous.  Most of us encounter far fewer obstacles and look forward to a much brighter future. Yet too often we are unable to muster the energy to be fabulous. Why is that?

How many times do we unnecessarily allow one failure, one disappointment, or one unexpected detour ruin our entire life?

Well, maybe not our entire life, but certainly affect things for far too long of a stretch. We moan and complain and exclaim to anyone who will listen how “Life’s Not Fair!”  Okay, I’ll give you that — life isn’t fair. So what?

Why do we let the negativity and stress and ugliness take control? Why do we feel compelled to become just another victim of random circumstances?

If you don’t like what you’ve been handed, why not recycle it into something else? You can if you want to — changing your present starts with changing your attitude.

How about just being fabulous regardless of the madness swirling around you?  Determine to rise above and be your very best self — in spite of what is being thrown your way, or what the future looks like, or what the doctors say. Why not embrace an attitude that is exceptionally good, marvelous, and superb? Laugh at your unfair life.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.

We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes.”
[Charles Swindoll].

Whatever life hands you, be fabulous in spite of it!


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If you cannot be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape [Anon].

An acquaintance of Greg’s shared that his wife had to undergo medical tests.

I would imagine the period of time between the testing and receipt of the results was filled with stressful thoughts, questions of “What if . . ?” and tearful conversations.  When the results were returned, however, they revealed absolutely no abnormality, and a clean bill of health was issued.

Sharing the good news on Facebook, the husband’s relief was evident. Greg’s friend concluded his account with, “Thanks for nothing!”

What a great response!  Nothing was exactly the result they wanted to receive, and he was celebrating!

Typically, we use the phrase, “Thanks for nothing!” in a condescending manner, indicating the other person has failed to deliver in a way we had expected. We’re disappointed or angry that we didn’t get what we thought we rightly deserved.

But this man’s response was quite unexpected. He wasn’t just relieved; he was thankful for nothing.

It started me thinking about all the times we really should be thankful for nothing. When “nothing” is the very best thing we could ever hope to receive:

  • No disease, no disasters, no disappointments.
  • No illness, no illusions, no calamities.
  • No accidents, no setbacks, no misfortunes.
  • No mistrust, no uncertainty, no inconsistencies.
  • No cutbacks, no downsizing, no worries.

For grief unsuffered, tears unshed,
for clouds that scattered overhead;

For pestilence that came not nigh,
for dangers that passed me by;

For sharp suspicion smoothed, allayed,
for doubt dispelled that made afraid;

For fierce temptation that well withstood,
for evil plot that brought forth good;

For weakened links in friendship’s chain
that, sorely tested, stood the strain;

For harmless blows with malice dealt,
for base ingratitude unfelt;

For hatred’s sharp unuttered word,
for bitter jest unknown, unheard;

For every evil turned away,
unmeasured thanks I give today.


What about you? Along with all the blessing that have touched your life, you now have even more for which to be thankful: all those “nothings.”

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Hindsight provides new eyes” [Wayne Dyer].

Remember that “thing” that happened last week, last month, or last year?

The event that you labeled a disaster, the end, a horrible misfortune?

That situation that you allowed to muddy up the present, color your future, and leave a cloud hanging over your head?

Sometimes, all we need is determination to persevere and a distance from the event for us to see it in a different light . . . “to understand that part a difficult circumstance played in our lives. Hindsight makes so much clear” [Karen Casey].

It might not have seemed like it then. And it might not appear to be now, but in time you may discover that “thing” holds promise, encapsulates an answer, creates possibility — if you allow it to — if you ask the questions, discard the baggage, break the barriers, seek out the potential.

On the other hand, if you prefer to carry around your perceived injustice like a sack of rocks, it will be difficult to fly into your destiny.

Look at the event with new eyes.

Maybe today you can see that “thing” as your saving grace. Your detour away from future trouble. The door to something better. A tool to make you stronger.

“In life’s school of wars, that which does not kill me, makes me stronger”
[Friedrich Nietzsche

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving” [Oliver Wendell Holmes].

We’ve all heard, and probably have quoted it ourselves: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Doesn’t that sound idealistic? Wouldn’t it be grand if life really worked out that way? The truth is that I’ve never experienced it myself and, in fact, I’ve rarely seen it happen for others.

Regardless if we are striving to climb the next rung on the corporate ladder, embark on a new career, begin a new business, or explore an exciting opportunity, it’s next-to-impossible to continually move in a straight line from here . . . to . . . there.

“Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before” [Shelby Steele].

I have overheard people say, “You can’t get there from here.” Which really just means to be prepared to travel somewhere else before you can arrive at your destination. It’s those detours that often throw us for a loop. We are so focused on getting “there,” that we are perplexed when a roadblock and corresponding “Detour” sign appears in our path.

I am familiar with this subject of detours. One year ago, I was eagerly anticipating my future. I had just completed my business degree and was enjoying a fulfilling and profitable career with my employer. Less than four months later I was unemployed; I had become another statistic of a corporate restructure. I had encountered a detour.

“The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery when on a detour” [Unknown].

Detours can appear as many different things: budget cuts, layoffs, relocations, illness, realignments, accidents. It doesn’t matter how or when a detour arrives in your life, the result is the same: it’s time to consult the map, your route has changed.

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune” [William James].

How we view and respond to unexpected circumstances determine what happens next. If we wallow around in self-pity, blaming the detour on God, or the government, or our parents, or our [former] employer, or whatever, we waste valuable time and undermine our own self-worth. Progress is crippled and valuable opportunities are often missed because of fear, inaction, and poor attitudes.

“The longer we dwell on our misfortune, the greater is their power to harm us” [Voltaire].

On the other hand, if we view the detour as an opportunity to experience new adventures, meet new people, travel to exciting destinations, and learn new information then, perhaps, it’s not a useless detour after all. Maybe, if we embrace the the change and look for the benefit in it, we can turn the unexpected into the unbelievable. If we view the detour as an opportunity for growth, we can turn a routine commute into the trip of a lifetime!

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security” [Gail Sheehy].

If we will commit to turning the detours into the dynamic, and learn to turn disappointments into stepping stones, we may just discover that the new road is much more exciting and fulfilling than the original trip we had planned.

Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Sometimes, it takes an unexpected detour to shake us out of the ordinary and send us down the road to extraordinary.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas” [Shirley Hufstedler].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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A winner will find a way to win. Winners take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves to be that much better.

Quitters take bad breaks and use them as a reason to give up.

It’s all a matter of pride” [Nancy Lopez].

Bad break, trouble, bump in the road, adversity, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Circumstances have conspired against you. Your progress has been slowed or, maybe, even stalled. Energy and effort that had been propelling you toward your dream are now diverted to addressing the problem and rectifying the situation.

So, how do you react when adversity crashes your party? Do you play the sorrowful “Why me?” card, or do you recognize it as an opportunity for growth?

“Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records [William A. Ward].

In the story, I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew, Dr. Seuss relates the tale of an individual who is enjoying a trouble-free life until — one day , out of the blue — everything changes.

“And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind.

Some come from ahead and some come from behind.

From above! And below!

And now I was really in trouble, you know.

The rocks! And the Quail! And the Skritz! And the Skrink!

I had so many troubles, I just couldn’t think.”

Ever been there? Circumstances so dire, you just can’t think? Your stomach is upset, your mind won’t slow down, you are unable to sleep. After all the gallant effort you have put forth, how could it be that you are now facing menacing giants who are lurking, waiting, planning your demise?

“Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance!” [Fritz Reiner].

In Spring 2008 I completed my business degree and anticipated a bright future filled with golden opportunities. Unfortunately, six months later I was displaced by my employer as the economy began running toward recession.

I couldn’t catch a break. The giants came knocking at my door — loudly. As the pressure mounted, I could not imagine the opportunities that would later present themselves as a result of the “unfortunate circumstances” that had settled over my life.

Horace once said, “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant” [Quintus Horatius Flaccus].

The past eight months have proven that statement to be absolutely true. Among other adventures, I have used the “opportunity of unemployment” to further develop my writing skills. The additional time and attention to writing has resulted in, among other things, one of my essays being published in Columbus Monthly. I have grown in ways that would have been unimaginable if I had been working 40 hours a week.

“I have learned that adversity is an experience, not a final act” [Michael LeBoeuf], and that sometimes the only response to life is “to accept whatever comes, . . . meet it with courage and with the best you have to give” [Eleanor Roosevelt].

The fellow who kept running away from his problems and toward utopia in the Dr. Seuss’ story, continued to encounter ongoing adversity until he realized that running from trouble is not a solution and, searching for a trouble-free existence is a waste of time:

Then I started back home to the Valley of Vung.

I know I’ll have troubles. I’ll maybe get stung.

I’ll always have troubles. I’ll, maybe get bit,

by that Green-Headed Quail on the place where I sit.

But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see.

Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.”

When adversity visits your life, don’t sit around with your head in the sand. It’s your big chance! Adversity is the green light. It is the signal to take action — run toward the conflict — face the giants.

After all, “problems are only opportunities in work clothes” [Henry Kaiser].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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