Knocked on Your Tush (Part 3 of 4)


Continuing our series of what you do when life gives you a roundhouse kick in the head and you suddenly end up sprawled out on the canvas… (read part 1,  234)

Here is point No. 2: Focus on what’s good, right and possible. Stop dwelling on the obstacle.

As Roger Crawford said in our interview together, “Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T do.”

Think about it, if you had disfigured limbs from the elbows and knees down and only three fingers… total and three toes total… on only one complete leg, it would be pretty difficult not to think about all that you couldn’t do versus what you could do.

Now look down at your hands and toes. Imagine what you can do, IF… you only focus on what you CAN do, given whatever limitations or obstacles you have, or think you have, instead of repeatedly focusing on all you cannot do. Please take this message to heart… and to your focus. As Roger said, “Problems in life are really possibilities, depending on what we choose to dwell on.”

I also have an important warning to offer you regarding this point:
Be sure the obstacle is not SERVING you.

It could be serving as a convenient excuse as to why you are not doing better or trying harder. Take notice of what you talk about. Do you continually talk about the obstacles you are facing or the positive progress you are making without even a mention of obstacles? Do you relish in lamenting, whining or even joking about the tragicomedy of your day? Or do your stories focus on the comeback, the hopefulness and the victory?

This is a key point: If you like talking about ‘woe is me,’ then you will continue to keep creating woes as it is serving up the fodder for your social commentary.

And secondly, many times obstacles, tragedies and difficulties bring you lots of attention. No one dotes on a healthy person, but as soon as you are sick, people happily come to your aid. Tell people

about your triumphs and they yawn. Tell people about your hurts and failures and they enthusiastically line up to stroke your hair and wipe your cheek.

This can be a rewarding and an unhealthy way to garner attention, keeping you stuck if not outright addicted to your obstacles and deficiencies.

What do you notice about yourself? Would you admit to talking more about your complaints, difficulties and obstacles or your hopefulness, positive expectancy and triumphs? If the former, what will you do to adjust?



45 responses to “Knocked on Your Tush (Part 3 of 4)”

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  4. A little behind in my reading but I love this. I have a tendency to be too negative and I am working on changing this. These reminders help me to “notice” my talk and my thoughts. Thanks

  5. Great point, Roxana. Why waste your precious time and energy on something an ‘expert’ can do more efficiently? You will not only never make any money that way, but you LOSE money in the long run!

  6. Your point #2 reminds me of back in the day when business advice was “focus on taking your flaws and learning how to correct them”. It does not serve anyone to focus on flaws. Besides,when you are successful, you can pay someone to handle those flaws better than you ever will. Let’s face it: I took a couple of years of accounting and I understand it. I will never make money by handling my own accounting. That should be left to the experts.

    I focus on what I love,what brings me joy and what I am good at. I am not famous and it might take me a long time for people to visit my website and share with me. I am in no hurry, life is a marathon not a sprint. So long as I am doing what I love and I stay consistent, I will get there.

  7. When ever I focused on my own self-imposed limitations (i.e. – shyness, fear of rejection, possible failure) it paralyzed me to the point of never taking action. I only found out later in life that taking action would be the key to overcome these limitations and I will see the benefits of facing the fear.

  8. wow, that was just an awesome lesson Darren. Thanks a lot for hitting it on the nail and ye – “You can never obtain success, you can only rent it and the rent is due every day” such a great thought to consider while playing everyday. Thanks for the digital edi. of the magazine and your blogs as well, I am a serious student of them. Keep up the good work as always Darren, many of us need it. Have a great weekend :)

  9. Hi Darren,

    Good morning, what a great article to go through the first thing in the morning. Thanks for your superb posts which keep me on track. One thing I have noticed that we as humans have a tendency to dwell on our setbacks and as you have said they attract attention and sympathy so most of us don’t try to cut it from our life. I am still a learner in this process and there are times when I tend to use this as a reference to console myself if I am in difficult situation. But, I get confused – is that am I in an habit of reminding myself of the losses I had or the setbacks I had just to cover up the difficult situation. I am totally confused.

  10. Thanks Darren – great as always!
    I work in a restaurant and find we are always looking at the million moving parts to see what obstacles might arise in the shift. When we do have down time I notice most of the conversations are negative and complaining about life in general. When someone does have a positive mood, the others typically and unconsciously try to bring them down.
    It is easy for this negativity to feed the feeling of never ending obstacles. The only way around it I feel, is constantly feeding my brain “clean water” to flush out the “dirty water” others are giving me. Thanks for helping me with that every week!

  11. Rich,
    I agree with you completely. I know that personally in the name of being “realistic” all I’ve done is reign myself in. I’ve pulled away the possibility that I could reach for the moon and instead, I contented myself with aiming for the stars instead. The crazy thing about that is when we aim lower then we could have we often end up with much less then we would have had we embraced the greatness within us and gone all out. Thank you for the reminder!

  12. Just finished The Compound Effect audio on the treadmill. This will be the last personal growth book and audio book I will buy and give for awhile unless it is directly related to this book. Why? Because I’m putting this book to practice. I am free of constant learning and buying. The 2 habits I started practicing are #1: tracking everything I eat, drink, and workouts using an iPhone app for 21 days, #2: Writing what I appreciate about my husband and life on my gratitude journal everyday. The 90-day theme I have is amazing health and romance. I envision to be one the success testimonial results by applying this book. The next 5 years will be fantastically different than the last 5 years. Thank you Darren! I will study this book every week along with Living My Year Ever. I am grateful.

  13. Thank you so very much for your kind words – I appreciate your acts of kindness. I can say this – I feel pain when I need to for I honour my loss. However I do know this shall pass. I am aware of the power of good thoughtful energy and I am specifically finding individuals who support me. I can’t help to think that maybe TROY knew I was ready to be calm and assertive by myself and his lessons were over.

    Bless you, we will be fine.

  14. Tracy,

    I lost a very loved Pomeranian a few years ago, he was left with a trusted person that promised he’d be taken care of. He wondered into a neighbors yard and was attacked by their dog. I was so angry at her for letting him off of his leash, something I never did. I was very aware of where he was at, at all times and she carelessly let him just wonder off. I will never forget the pain I felt, I cried for a week straight and fell into a depression. But let me tell you Tracy, I believe with all of my heart that God will reunite you with your dog on the other side of this life. Why would he create something so beautiful as love (whether love between parents, children, pets…) and not let that live forever? God is love, his example is love, his son is love, every ounce of being that our creator is shows he IS love. That thought kept me through the hard times when I was hurting for my dog. Take solace in that fact, you’ll see him again!

  15. I no longer talk about my woes and I have drastically killed the time i spend thinking about them. The major influence for this was when I stood back and listened to others. I am surrounded by those who only speak so much of negative subjects. I realized that those people are avoided by others and not listened to, so i set out to lead by example and speak only of the nice,good, super and sweet things in life, no matter what the situation is!


  16. I am reminded of how incredibly powerful the words we speak are to the success we achieve. Negative words stem from negative thoughts and result in negative outcomes – maybe not right now, but eventually they will generate a negative outcome! Conversely, positive words stem from positive thoughts and result in positive outcomes – again they bear fruit, this time fruit we want!!

  17. Good Morning Mr Hardy,

    Not letting obstacles serve you is a great point. People love to be the victim. My answer to your question is to not talk about myself at all (if I can help it). People really are interested in #1 so if you can focus your attention and efforts on others, your success is guaranteed. I also think that positive self talk is mandatory when it comes to pushing through the big challenges. Always tell yourself what you CAN do and never acknowledge that the word CANNOT even exists. We are capable of so much if we stay out of our own way!!
    Have a magical week!

  18. Hi Tracy, my hugs to you. Give yourself permission to be human. Accept, feel and express your emotions that are painful and joyful. Have you tried mild yoga? It may help release and heal your energy. Focus your the love you have for Troy to yourself, to your daughter, and family and friends. Give and receive healing love. Take care.

  19. Sounds like a great idea, Rachel. And on your way out of that room, try thinking about something you are grateful for instead. Will help you turn your negative thinking around A LOT quicker!

  20. Hi Tracy,

    I’m very sorry to hear about Troy. I know from personal experience how difficult the loss of a beloved dog can be.

    One phrase to keep in mind when times are particularly tough, as they are now, is this – This Too Shall Pass.

    Yes it hurts now, but it won’t last forever. It will get better. And when it’s all said and done you’ll still have your treasured memories of Troy.

    Stay strong, you’re going to be just fine.

  21. It is okay that you are sad and missing TROY. You are a sensitive, caring and loving human – we feel. It’s okay to feel. Give yourself sometime to grief. Resisting it will only bring you more pain. Eventually… if TROY could have spoken and he were before you now, he would want you to LIVE life and do it without sadness in your heart. Your daughter also needs you. Focus on what you DO have… the living and not that which is now past and your reoriented attention will give you lots to be happy and joyful for.

  22. I read your post and said yea I do get it. I practice this as often as I can, every moment and for the last 18 months my journey has been that, a learning curve. I try each day to focus, but I find myself feeling that maybe some days I am pretending a little too much. Yesterday, my dog of only four years died very suddenly, painfully impacting trauma on my daughter who witnessed everything – I was off with my husband only to get a frantic call, when I returned he was dead.

    I am shaking my head for TROY was in my life every day – he was the drill sergeant I used to get me through my life. We woke early to walk, focus & prepare. Troy was a big dog with some behaviour issues so learning to be calm & assertive with TROY was the key lesson to my last 18 months. “Tracy you need to be aclm and assertive – focused energy – everyday” BUT I just do not feel I am ready to keep going alone – he was my teacher. When days were tough I talked too him, when people were negative I would talk with him, I used him as a way to focus and get through what we needed to. If we walked and growled at a dog I reminded myself “Tracy calm & assertive energy – be the leader”. Th elast 18 months have been a slow recovery – daily – and TROY dying I feel lost.

    My daughter is in shock and as I am there for her, telling her all the things I need to so I can protect her, heal her and make her strong – I find myself hiding in my room or car falling apart. So I read your post and say yes – I know positive – mind – full glass, focus on growth and I feel like today I am faking just a little too much. The reality is – I hurt – I am angry – I am sad – I do not want him to be gone, I feel I am not ready and I am scared that it just will not get better!

  23. Thank you Darren! I’ve had times when talking about what’s not working and what I can’t do. Asking “what’s going on inside me” gives me clarity and awareness to consistently free myself of
    drama or pain. Practicing daily small celebrations for any progress keeps me focus on happiness, love and success.

    I’ve also been my teaching my patients especially children and teens to jump, dance, celebrate even yell out “yes, yay” if they feel like it for their successes no matter how simple.

    Darren, love The Compound Effect audio & book. I’m making steady small changes in my health, love, family and business life. Thank you!

    Have a beautiful day!

    I enjoy reading your blog at each end of my cardio workout.

  24. This is so good!

    I think a lot of times focusing on what we can not do is reclassified as being “realistic.” What a self-defeating way of approaching life. How much human brilliance has been squandered throughout history in the name of being “realistic?”

    You are dead-on Darren. Who the hell cares what you can’t do? Focus on what you can do, because what you can do is amazing. You are a pulsating being with untold levels of ability, talent, potential and brilliance. And we need your brilliance.

    Besides, what have you got lose (other than a life of mediocrity)?

  25. Darren, I work as a high school counselor (I know…..).

    So, you know I hear a lot of complaining, “______ won’t turn in his work.” “_____ never shows up to class.” “_____ is here ever day, but does nothing in my class.” “The Administrators have forgotten what it feels like to be a classroom teacher.” “More furlough days?!?!?! The Central Office Administrators have forgotten about those of ‘us’ in the trenches.” “My parents don’t understand me.”

    You name it, I have heard it and I hear it day in and day out. It is hard to focus on what is good when those around you are wanting to focus on the negative. I asked a teacher one day about her negative attitude. I asked her, “Could it be that ____ continues to act terribly in your classroom because you expect him to? What if you change the way you thought about him? Do you think his attitude towards you would change?” I challenged her to NOT comment when the student acted up in her room. Instead, I challenged her to say one good thing about that student daily – for a whole week. After one week…HER attitude changed and HIS attitude changed as well. So much so, that he requested her as his English teacher (his senior year) and she gladly accepted and smiled when I told her that he wanted her again!

    After reading your post, I did a quick self check. Yep….I’m, still focusing on the good, the right, and the possible!

    Thanks Darren!!!!

  26. Darren, I’ve never considered myself much of a complainer but I have to admit, in the last few years I’ve been overwhelmed a few times by economic circumstances seemingly beyond my control. Some of it I turned over to my higher power and the rest I just continued plowing through, relying on strategies and beliefs that have proven successful thus far, and adjusting where necessary. I believe it’s working!

  27. My husband often complains about money and uses our lack of it to excuse his lazy attitude towards fulfilling his career goals and his personal dreams. I’ve recently taken to walking away every time he brings up the same money (or any other) complaints. I don’t do it angrily or make a big deal, I just casually leave the room in the middle of his sentence. It’s actually amusing to me to hear his thought kind of trail off in the distance and it works great to get him to stop his negative thinking. But I realize that my internal complaining about my obstacles has been paralizing some of my goals. So this post made me re-evaluate my own actions towards my thoughts and I’m going to take my own advice and “leave the room” when internal complaints abound.

  28. Darren, Thanks for the timely note! I ran into some big obstacles and reminders of past obstacles just this morning. I have a tendency to focus on these obstacles with self-talk rather than share them with those around me. You provided me an opportunity to shift my focus, adjust my self talk and take actions to work on my goals.

  29. Hi Darren
    Your posts are very topical for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, who were knocked over yesterday by a tragic earthquake. I have been speaking to my family and friends down there and though shaken and grieving for their losses, they are banding together to help each other through this terrible time.Their words are remarkably positive and they are looking to the future and to the rebuilding of their city.

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