ever had one of those weeks?

One thing after another…

That’s what this week has been for me.

Investment issues, business issues, brick walls (aka people), website trouble, computer freezes…it just didn’t stop.

We’ve all had days, weeks, even months like these.

It just feels like the whole world is against you.

At times like these it’s important to take a deep breath and do a little accounting. No, I’m not talking about money here, but an accounting of your life.

The thing is, we don’t react well to negative stimulus.

In the best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, he talks about the power of “negatives” and that it takes 24 positives to nullify the power of just one negative.

Let’s put this in more concrete terms; let’s say your best 20 friends tell you you look attractive, then one jerk comes along and says you look hideous. Onlookers would realize that it’s 20 to 1 in your favor. Unfortunately, most of us don’t take it that way. We believe the latter.

It’s something hotーwired within us — we believe negative over positive.

Ever wonder why Presidential campaigns today are so negative? Because they are so dang effective…sadly.

But I’m not here to talk about marketing or advertising、 but rather how we must all learn to deal with disappointment.

One interesting fact about business that you may, or may not, be aware of is that most people quit their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated. Can you believe that? It’s not money, it’s not hard work, it’s not over time, it’s not even stress that really pushes people over the edge most of the time.

Let me tell you, it’s true.

Many years ago when I first came to Japan to work, I joined a small English school in the area that specialized in kids.

Now, you might not know this about me、 but I’m good with kids…why? Because I’m really just a big kid.

I love comics, movies, TV, yo-yos, magic, and sports. I suppose that’s part of the reason kids love me, because I can get inside their head and I can relate to them.

For whatever reason, so many adults forget what it feels like to be a kid.

It’s not easy.

Sure, they don’t have any responsibilities, their needs and wants are taken care of by their parents and they can sleep in till 12 on Sunday if they like but they do have their own things to deal with:

  • Biased teachers
  • Bullying
  • Lack of understanding
  • Opinion not appreciated
  • etc

That’s just part of life as a kid. I was bullied. I had stupid teachers that punished me unfairly. I was ignored. But adults forget all that stuff because they have much bigger issues to deal with, and you can’t really compare the two.

The problem is for kids, they know nothing else. They have yet to experience the true nature of life and the hardships it brings (hopefully anyway).

We, as adults, need to understand that and think back to our childhood and start from there.

Anyway, so that’s where I’m coming from, now back to the small English school.

I had the most students out of any teacher within two years, including my boss, and yet I was working less than nearly everyone. How did I accomplish this feat? Easy, I worked at it.

I put in the time, I put in the effort to become good.

I could read clock cards upside down without breaking stride, I could play games with my eyes closed, I came up with all sorts of variations on games to make them more appealing to kids. In a nutshell, I was good.

And yet, each time I raised my hand with a new idea it got slammed down…hard.

I heard things such as “He’s too young,” “he doesn’t get it,” and “get with the program” over and over. And yet when someone else came up with an inferior idea (I say so because there were a lot of problems caused from implementing them) they were accepted way too quickly despite my objections.

I even went as far as to explain what was wrong、 but to no avail.

I kept running into wall after wall. The worst part was they would use “intuition” as a comeback to my logic (one of the reasons hate me is I’m good at presenting things logically).

In the end, when they tried to take my holidays I had had enough.

I couldn’t take it.

I was insulted, ignored, lied to and worst of all, not appreciated.

Fast forward to this week and again, I find myself in a similar situation.

Great ideas falling on deaf ears. But there’s one big difference this time round — I’ve changed.

Sure, I vented…but after I got it out of my system, as I said earlier, I took a deep breath and thought to one quote from the Bible, “This too shall pass.”

I then took a good look at my life and all that I have in it, and realized that this is just a blip on the screen called life as I have:

  • My dear son
  • My lovely wife
  • My health
  • My friends
  • My mother
  • My mentors
  • My work (online and off)
  • My knowledge (each day I am constantly learning and sharing to be better)
  • My investments
  • The Internet
  • TV
  • The freedom to choose how to live my life

In my youth, I focused on the bad, much like we all do. Today I focus on the good.

I get it, it’s not always easy when you’re dealing with a bunch of problems that you didn’t cause, but everyone blames you for…it’s not even fair.

But so what? Life isn’t meant to be easy. In fact, it’s my belief that if it’s so easy for you then you’re doing it wrong.

Life is about overcoming challenges. That’s where the growth is.

And that’s what I tell myself each time I have a week such as this one.

Seven years from now, it’s doubtful I’ll even remember what happened this week in May 2013.

As Brian Tracy says, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you.”

I am proud to say, I am in control.

Adrian Shepherd

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