Getting Knocked Down
I recently shared a perspective in a keynote presentation I did that helped reshape my view of obstacles and life’s difficulties; this might help you too…
My wife’s best friend has a friend whose husband, I am embarrassed to say, I envied. He had the life I wanted. We are close in age and both came from the Bay Area of San Francisco.
After several failed businesses, he started an electronics store called “Jacks.” The stores were relatively successful and were bought out for a good sum. He then invested that money into commercial real estate in the San Diego Valley, before the boom. He ended up owning several buildings that made him tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions.
We would go to his parties at the home he custom built in Rancho Santa Fe (one of the richest ZIP codes in the county). The home, estate really, was more than 10,000 square feet on an amazing piece of sprawling land and it was designed in just the style I love.
His cars were amazing and he also had a yacht in the harbor and a private plane. He was also a good-looking guy and had a beautiful family he adored and who adored him. He was warm, friendly and always the life of the party. I wanted his life. In my head (privately, of course) I would wish I was Gary Boyd.
A year and a half ago he had a cough that became increasingly worse. When he went to the doctor he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He never smoked, lived relatively healthy—it was completely unexpected. He had finally arrived, was living the life he never could have imagined, and then this.
His family had to watch him slowly and painfully wither away until he finally died seven months ago.
Now, every day I say, thank God I am not Gary Boyd.
Here is the point: No matter what obstacle I encounter now, no matter what setback I experience, I have a whole new perspective on just how “catastrophic” the situation really is. If I take a risk and am embarrassed, if I call someone and they reject me, if I lose a bunch of money in an investment, if I wreck my car, lose my house (not that I have!), no matter what obstacle comes my way, I say, “At least I am not Gary Boyd.”
Point is, as long as you are on the right side of the dirt, no obstacle really matters.
We all experience failure, setbacks, disappointments and obstacles. And yes it hurts, and that is okay. We are human. Rejection, failure and letdowns hurt humans. It’s part of the deal.
Now the difference is how long you let it keep you down.
Here is the evolution I have gone through and recommend for you. What used to bum me out for 2 weeks I eventually whittled down to 2 days. Then I got it down to 2 hours and then 20 minutes. Now when I am knocked down, I give myself about 2 minutes to sulk and then I brush myself off and get back on the horse. I also look to replace the experience with something positive. I never allow myself to end the session or day with a defeat. I will keep working until I can gain some kind of victory.
So it’s okay to get knocked down; its even good for you—it’s the beginning of growth. And it’s okay that it smarts a bit. And it’s okay to give yourself some recovery time. Now just try and reduce the time it knocks you out. And get over the idea that life sucks for you. Remember, you are not Gary Boyd.
What do you do when you get knocked down? What do you do to lick your wounds and get yourself back on the horse? Share your tips in the comments below.
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