Knocked on Your Tush (Part 2 of 4)



Continuing our series on what you do when you get knocked on your keister, let me lay out a four-point plan you can use to overcome any obstacle you will ever face in life—a plan to turn any tragedy or setback into triumph. (Read part 1,  234)

Here is No. 1: I interviewed Roger Crawford recently, who was born with a physical handicap that affected all four of his limbs from the elbows down and from the knees down, leaving him with two fingers on his left wrist on one on his right, a partially developed right leg with three toes, and his left leg from the knee down was amputated. But he became a world-class tennis player, recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the most accomplished athletes in history.

During our interview Roger made this very profound statement: “We are, often times, the one who creates our own handicaps.” Meaning, many times our obstacles are self-induced. Or, even real obstacles continue to have a hold on us because of these mental handicaps. I think we lose proper perspective. So true.

This might help you gain perspective…

A few nights ago my wife was feeling a bit stressed and down about a project that had not gone according to plan. She left the house in a bummed out mood and came back a transformed human being.

I asked her what the heck happened and she told me the story of Jimmy…

Jimmy always has a big giant smile on his face. Jimmy cleans people’s fingernails and toenails for a living. Georgia, curious why this man is always so happy, asked how he grew up. Jimmy explained he was one of nine from a very large Vietnamese family. Jimmy’s father had been loyal to the American military during the Vietnam War. He was ordered to pay restitution, which he was told would be an imprisonment term of 2 1/2 weeks. Three and a half years later, weak, starving and brutalized in what turned out to be a labor camp, his father was released.

With his release, Jimmy’s father was determined to leave Vietnam and take his wife and nine children to the United States. To do so they had to leave everything behind—their home, their small business, their money, their jewelry, all of their possessions, and most devastatingly, the commitment of never being able to return to Vietnam or their village.

To avoid capture their only option was escape by ocean, and only during monsoon season, when it was so dangerous that even the Federal Coast Guard wasn’t on the water.

The morning they planned to leave, they headed down to the shore joined by Jimmy’s uncle and his uncle’s eight children. Each family had their own small, rickety boat, the clothes on their backs and tremendous fear in their hearts. They knew death or being sent to a labor camp for the rest of their lives was more likely than escape. They proceeded anyway.

As dusk came, the wind started to whip and waves began to rise—a great storm was brewing. Both families climbed in their boats and faced the unknown of a wicked storm and utter darkness.

Not long into the journey, the storm had grown monstrous and the two boats had separated and the two families could no longer see each other. Jimmy’s family kept fighting against the storm by continually emptying their boat of water and moving forward. The next day, after many hours of darkness and torrential rain and waves, Jimmy and his family were exhausted, hungry and beaten down. Their small boat threatened to come apart any minute, but they didn’t have any strength to continue. Just as they thought they might be lost forever, a Chinese fisherman and his sons came upon them. After much convincing that they were not pirates but in fact, desperate for help, the Chinese fisherman allowed all of them on board and would take them the rest of the way to Hong Kong. Wet, starving and exhausted, Jimmy and his family felt a glimmer of hope that they might live.

Upon their embarking in Hong Kong, they were taken to a refugee center where they received a telegram stating that their uncle’s boat had been taken by the huge waves, broken in two and four of his children had died—swept away and drowned in the darkness.

On their very first airplane flight on the way to their new country, the United States of America, a movie played Jimmy never forgot—It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. It was during that flight that young Khoa Tran decided to become “Jimmy,” and has been so for the last few decades. Jimmy concluded his tale with,

“What can I possibly be unhappy about? Life is wonderful.”

So, point number one, when you are experiencing an obstacle or setback, be sure to keep it in proper perspective.

How do you keep your perspective when you trip or get knocked down? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



39 responses to “Knocked on Your Tush (Part 2 of 4)”

  1. You are 100% responsible for what you DO, DON’T DO or how you RESPOND to what is done to you. Figure out which or combination of these responsibilities you need to take in order to improve your desired outcome with people and your life.

  2. Darren, thank you so much for reminding us that we are 100% in control. But does this relate to our relationships with other people as well? What if the other person wants to be in control/ in charge as well and does not like us to “control” the situation? In fact, I noticed that the more I want to control things, the more I want a specific outcome (from a date or from a job interview) the more I screw things up. Friends then tell me to relax, to detach, to let go of the desire to always be in control, that I can’t control the outcome of an encounter where other people are involved as they have their free will, too. Or am I misunderstanding the idea of “being in control”??

  3. There is a saying that we are always in the right place at the right time, and reading Jimmy’s story has given me more hope and courage to do what must. About a year ago, I gave up my home, job, left my family, friends and support system to follow my heart. Yes, I fell in love, or rather rekindled a love that was dormant for a few years. Needless to say, nothing was as it seemed. I am now on my way to put my things in storage, and recreate my life so I can have sanity, peace of mind, and the independence I once enjoyed. Right now there are lots of emotions swirling round, and I know, without a doubt this too shall pass.

    I was honored to hear Darren speak at the recent ACN conference in Charlotte, and I know I have it all inside of me to put one foot in front of the other every single day. Reading about someone else’s challenge, simply gives me perspective. I know “this too, shall pass”, and I will be victorious.

    Thanks for this platform!

  4. Hello
    I’m opening a new book or old and reading from the book of the books. (old .d) song num.119 and 1+92 very powerfol….

  5. Darren, The Compound Effect audio and book rocks! I’ve spent thousands in personal growth books, CDs, courses in the past decade since I started listening to Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins and so I find your books simple, clear, bootcamp core style, no fluff roadmap! My challenge has been consistency with daily habits and I am grateful to have found your programs because you wrote a whole plan of daily habits on how to earn an extra $100,000 a year and have an amazing love life! This helps my somewhat ADD Gemini personality to focus my strengths and get more results! My spouse and family thanks you for sharing your light! You opened my eyes even more that I must get up at 5am, stretch while listening to audio, read, eat berry protein shakes, take supplements, compliment my spouse and go to work, avoid gossipers at work, and track everything I eat and spend. You got it down from morning habits to how much wine and dark chocolate a wealthy person must eat in moderation and consciousness.

    Thank you!

  6. Thank you Georgia for sharing about Jimmy! You are an inspiration to me being an awesome
    woman and wife! Darren talks about you so happily!

  7. Hi Darren & everyone!

    I focus back to my breathing, let myself be human for few minutes, accept the event as it is, and ask myself how will I do better. I forgive myself and everyone involve so we can all move on. I also practice emotional freedom technique, hit the gym, run on the beach to release stuck energy.

    Celebrating Friday afternoon while on the elliptical listening to The Compound Effect cd 2. Darren, you opened my on how much I spend and eat samples at Costco! My Costco factor is not worth our education fund, entrepreneur fund and Hawaiian vacation! Spouse and I have also maximized our pretaxed investments and Roth IRAs and have enjoying watching our net worth grow. We feel more inner peace and able to enjoy our play money more with no guilt.

    Thank you and have a happy weekend!


    Thank you!

  8. Zig Ziglar, who you have featured in your magazine and on your audio CDs, has said that he has been grateful for all of his challenges, because without them, he would not be the person that he is today.

    When I read and heard that, I thought to myself rather cynically, “That’s fine, Mr. Ziglar. But what about the rest of us that struggle and struggle, with no end in sight? Sure, I would be happy to put up with these challenges if I knew they would have a fairy-tale ending like yours did!”

    Please let me tell you my story . . .

    MISTAKE #1

    I had been working for a company that had experienced a number of reorganizations and managerial changes. I was so frustrated in my position, I thought “Anything has to be better than this!” And I left at the first opportunity.

    MISTAKE #2

    I was wrong. Like so many “rebound relationships,” I found this new job was even worse than the first! I begged for an opportunity to come back to my former company. They agreed to give me an interview. At the same time, I had wanted to attend a conference and I knew that this second company would not give me the time off. Since I knew that I would likely be returning to my company in just a matter of days, I quit.

    The problem became, after I came back and interviewed, I didn’t get my old job back.

    Now things were really challenging. No job. A daughter attending a private university and a wife with a life-threatening disease. Since I quit, I couldn’t even apply for unemployment compensation. I had no money, just a lot of sleepless nights.


    I had a lunch with a someone I once worked with, told him my predicament and casually mentioned that I was thinking of starting my own business. He listened and asked, “How much money do you need to get started?” I hadn’t been asking for any money.

    Not only did he save me from foreclosure, we have developed a fabulous friendship that would not have occurred otherwise. After all, not everything can be measured in dollars and cents.

    Fast forward several years . . .

    My friend is now working for a large multinational corporation in town. I would like to work there, also, but I figured in this economy, they must get 1,000 applications for each new position. Where would I even start to apply?

    “It’s very simple,” my friend told me. “Here’s all you need to do . . .”

    I then found out that my former boss from the first company I mentioned above also works there. He put in a good word for me with the hiring manager with whom I met with yesterday afternoon. This could be for my “dream job.”

    Morals of my story:

    Your prayers may not be answered today, this week, this month or even this year.
    They may be answered in ways you don’t even expect.
    Even if you were the one who made mistakes, God will put people into your life to help you.

  9. Aloha, Hola, Hello Darren,

    Thanks so much for sharing Jimmy’s wonderful story. Whenever I feel stuck & mired, I remember all the times my wonderful partner & honey of 34 years has been there with a balance of kindness & kick a** attitude of “it’s time to get up – NOW!” We share of lifetime of inspiring each other to be the amazing people we already are. That said, we also recognize the importance of a peer group of amazing people who will do the same for us and vice versa.

    Thanks again Darren, Deb

  10. That made me laugh out loud… thank you Don!! Those are clearly not my feet as I am the person standing and taking Jimmy’s picture. That was someone else enjoying Jimmy’s Perfect Pedicure!

  11. It is often when death pushes us to new life….It is sad that such tough times have to come to make us move in the directions that we really need to go.

  12. So true!

    Even a slight change in perception to our circumstances/challenges/obstacles can have a monumental affect in a negative or a positive way!

    Without doubt we need to start our days reading about such stories…inspiring stories and the rest of the day will be nothing less than wonderful!


  13. Another great post and inspiring stories!

    How do you keep your perspective when you trip or get knocked down?

    I kept reminding myself of my core values, mission, vision and the WHY I must get back on track soon. It also helps to listen to my favorite music that will spark fire within me, inspiring movies, books. Hey, I was surprised to learn some valuable lessons by even talking to strangers while waiting for friends!


  14. I grew up in the “yet to be” Democratic Republic of Congo and Jimmy’s story definitely touched my heart for I can relate to the struggles he faced with his family. America truly is a place where dreams come true and it saddens me at times how much we take it for granted. The law of contrast does indeed help us put things in perspective; like the saying goes “I had no shoes and I complained, until I met a man with no feet”. I count my blessings everyday, and Darren, thank you for this great reminder!

  15. There is a mexican saying “God squeezes, but he doesn’t stangle” Meaning that he will send what ever you are able to handle, and these things happen to make us stronger persons.

    Every time I’m having a hard time, first I come to Darren blog to read something nice and after that I pray and ask God to make me stronger.

  16. I keep perspective by thinking mentally of all things that I have. I remember all my family who are from third-country behind and keep their daily life versus mine in perspective. If you are alive after a knockout, tradegy, problem- which I think are all guidepost for us to consider – we can survive and achieve even more despite the seemingly lost pieces.

  17. Darren, thank you for sharing Jimmy’s story. Very touching & inspiring.

    How do you keep your perspective when you trip or get knocked down? I know as long as I’m breathing, it’s possible to get back up.

    Have a happy, healthy, & terrific week!

  18. Wow! Amazing story and definitely one that makes you grateful for your life. I keep my perspective when I get knocked down because of my faith. I know that nothing happens to me that God is not aware of. Everything, the good and the bad, all have purpose for my life and are all working together for my eventual good. I know that if it were not for my faith I wouldn’t have survived many of the things I have gone through.

  19. Man, what a story.

    One lesson I learned from this post, ask people about their lives (I do that often) but this just reinforce this commitment because people are human beings and we all have powerful stories.

    And I love what Roger Crawford that at times we are, at times, creating our own handicap even though he surely had a real one. We create these mental obstacles, we care about what other say and think (when they surely are not) and we let them stop us.

    When I was losing weight, I kept thinking about what other people may say, and by others, I meant my friends who were fat. I didn’t want to lose weight because I was sensitive to them. Low and behold, when I started to lose weight, they were extremely happy and they joined me in my runs and lost weight themselves.

    And as for Jimmy, I love how he took on this name, he embodied the person because Jimmy for him means a wonderful life. We believe in the Jewish religion, that parents when naming the child are given some divine inspiration to name the child what they have the power in them to be. I am named, in Hebrew, Ro-e, which means a shepherd as in G-d is my shepherd. And I try to embody that name, the leader in me in all situation. I think to myself when no one is stepping up, I must step up. When things are going not the way we plan it, I try to step up and direct things. And then of course, through out the bible, many of our leaders were shepherd themselves, either with the sheep or the people.

    And how do I keep things in perspective? Well, for one, my name. Another way is to think about all those wonderful kids who fight cancer, some win and some pass away leaving a powerful message behind. I will never forget my best friend when i was 19, who passed away from cancer, telling me “Roy, I may not be able to do much anymore now, but please, go do the things that I want to do, go become what you suppose to become, do it all, for those who can’t”.

  20. I am able to keep perspective by remembering that there are always people who have less then me: less opportunity, less resources, less fill-in-the blank, and yet that doesn’t stop them and they are have done and are doing great things. The lesson being that regardless of the starting point you are at in life aka the things you can’t control: your race, age, ect.-that is only 1% of the picture. The other 99% that is under our control: our attitude and are actions are what really determine where we’re going.

  21. Jimmy’s story sheds light on a fact that we easily overlook in America. We live in one of the most prosperous and comfortable societies in human history! I have been privileged to visit third world countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. When I am tempted to whine about minor or major inconveniences in my daily activities, my mind often replays those images of “normal life” for the majority of the world’s population. Those images always push the reset button for me and help me realize how great I really have it.

Leave a Reply