Attitude is everything – Donkey in a hole

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Early this week a Facebook friend of mine shared a post of the donkey that fell into a well.   The farmer who owns the donkey thought that it was too old, so he decided to bury the donkey instead of finding a way to help it to get out of the hole.

As I read that post, I was reminded of the challenges that I went through growing up when people around me did not believe in me, that I could achieve anything in life.  When people close to me, constantly reminded me on a daily basis of my lack of intellectual capabilities, and because of that I thought I would not amount to anything.   When you hear that daily, it is like being brainwashed. You started believing that it is true and other people’s perception become your reality.   Perhaps it is true; I ponder that.   The reality is that I really was not smart compared to my siblings.   In addition, I did not achieve the same academic success year in and year out.  In fact, I never achieved anything academically until later in my high school education.

Back then, I almost gave up.   I felt that there was no point of trying when people put you in a box and no one gives you a chance.   But then, like the donkey when its owner started shoveling soil down that hole, I started to lose hope.   I still remember that feeling of emptiness and feeling sorry for myself.  Self pity kicked in and I rolled down this slippery hole of negative thoughts.

Not until someone showed interest in my ability and encouraged me to try did I have hope.  But the reality is, not until I changed my attitude did things change around me.    That day, I decided to prove to everyone who doubted me that I could get it done, that I had the courage to grind and push and dig deep to try my best.  Yes, the reality is I was not given the intellectual ability, but I’m blessed to be here on earth and there is a great reason and role for my existence.   Maybe I will succeed, maybe I won’t, but unless I try I will never know.

The first step of believing in myself was the hardest.   I had to convince myself that I would ignore the voice and what people said around me.   It is hard, but each day that I push and dig deep, it becomes easier and easier to move on.  I focus on small wins or success and build upon that.  Just like the donkey I shake the things that people around me are saying and I step up on the soil that was dumped on me.   Yes, it takes a long time, but is your current situation any better?  Don’t you think you deserve better?   Ponder on that. We all deserve better as long as we want to put in the work to get there.

We must develop the discipline to work on what we desire to achieve.   Focus on the end goal and persist.   Remember that defeat is only final when you give up and accept it.   Persistence is the key; we start by believing in ourselves.    Work on it and develop a bulldog persistence and work on it daily.   Develop a never-give-up attitude.

Looking back in my life, yes I came a long way.  Many times I would meet people from my past that say they are amazed at what I accomplished.   It all changed because I chose to do something about it.  I was diligent in working toward achieving goals one day at a time without ceasing.

I am a long way from achieving my goal and continue to work on it on a daily basis.   It helps to keep that in mind. As you achieve a certain level of success, give back to your community and mentor others, spread your knowledge and develop a community of folks that believe in empowering others.

Adapting to the Situation

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

Many times in our lives we trained or studied for something for months at time and it all came down to the moment of truth and something happened that threw us off track.   You can either throw you arms in the air and give up or adjust accordingly and see if you can make the most of the situation.

Our ability to adapt to the situation depends on our behavior.  By staying positive, we can come up with ways to address the challenge we’re facing.  However, if you get frustrated, you’re most likely to fail at it.  It all comes down to how much you really want it and if your sacrifices can be thrown out the window.

The term “choke” in my observation is really an unfair assessment.  Some people take more time to adapt, while others can easily adjust and move forward.  However, there are many situations in which time is of the essence, where if you hold back a little, you’ll miss out on the opportunity.     But at the end of the day the outcome is less important than the fact that you did your very best to adapt to the situation.  The experience you gain goes a long way.

Here are a couple of stories that exhibit that staying positive helps the person adapt to the situation:

1)      The son of a friend of mine recently tried out for a swim team.   During his butterfly event, I noticed that he slowed down significantly and was left behind by almost a lap.  I was puzzled but was not sure what happened.  He did not quit and kept on swimming.  At the end of the tryout, I asked him what happened. He said that his goggle was loose then eventually fell into the water.  He decided to keep on swimming and not worry about it.   Such an act demonstrates his commitment to getting it done no matter the situation.  He did not make any excuses and kept on swimming.  It must be hard to finish last, but the way he did it made me so proud of him.  I told him that no matter what the outcome, he should be proud of his effort.

2)      Nathan Adrian competed at the 100-meter freestyle at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.  While crouching on the block, he felt a tear on his rear.   This left him with an exposed buttock.  In spite of that he went on to swim and ended up beating Michael Phelps at that event.   He did not let the incident affect him, because months of practice all came down to that moment and he did his best and was rewarded nicely.

3)      Last year, I was hoping to have my promotion.  When the day arrived, my manager was surprised that I did not get my promotion.  To say the least, I was disappointed. But I did not let it stop me from doing a great job and continued to coach and mentor people around me.   Although I was affected, I channeled my energy to working with the new management and continued to help affect change in our organization.  I never wavered and believe that one or two setbacks should not stop me from trying.   The year went by and I was surprised that I got promoted to Executive Director.  It goes to show that we need to try your best at all times and do not let some setback hold you back.  You should continue to strive to achieve your goal.  The lessons learned is that we cannot give up easily for we will never know the outcome if we quit too early.

There are more stories that I can share, but the above three stories did standout and are most relevant since they all happened recently.    When something does not go as planned, do the following:

  • Step back and try to take a deep breath.  Go out for a walk and allow yourself to mourn and deal with the situation.
  • Accept the situation and acknowledge it and move on.
  • Try to see the positive side of the situation.  This often includes controlling your emotion and focusing on the task on hand.
  • Find alternative solutions and weigh the feasibility of getting it done.
  • Proceed with your decision and act on it.

For the above swimming situation, you cannot obviously apply some of the steps defined above, but you get the point.  Act on the situation based on how important it is to you.   Make a commitment and make it happen.  When you commit, it makes going forward easier.