1. The road to success us usually a pretty bumpy one. And there are no shortcuts.
2. Many people would define the “good life” as one that’s free of pain and hardship and heartache. But I’ve learned that adversity is actually an opportunity.
3. Find the positive out of every negative.
4. When you think negative thoughts, negative things usually happen. On the flip side, when you think positively and visualize success, that’s usually what you get.
5. You have to trust God to see the bigger picture. You have to choose to live from the heart and trust what you cannot see.
6. You can’t always determine your circumstances, but you can always determine your attitude.
Trust is the cornerstone of every meaningful relationship.
7. Adversity equals opportunity. The only way to believe that is to lift yourself up from the ground. Getting up is always the first step.
8. You’re going to face a situation where everything seems to be working against you and you have to fight through the adversity with all you’ve got.
9. If you want to do something you’ve never done, you have to prepare by doing something you’ve never done.
10. There aren’t any shortcuts on the path to success.
11. Adversity is not your enemy. It can unleash a power in your life that will make you stronger and help you achieve amazing things—things you may have never thought were possible…until now.
If I could sit down with you and have a face-to-face talk, these are some things I would say.
• Find a mentor. No matter who you are or what your profession is, we all need someone who can keep us grounded and speak truth into our lives. Find people who have built their lives on a solid foundation, and humble yourself to learn from them. I’ve never known a successful athlete, business person, or anyone else who has made an impact on the world who didn’t stand on the shoulders of other great men and women.
• Don’t give up. The worst thing that can happen in life is not getting knocked down and then staying down. If you lose a job, if your relationships crumble, if you face a health setback—get up. You may fall again and it may hurt, but get back on the horse. And once you’re up, hold your ground. Commitment is when you refuse to give yourself an excuse.
• Turn your defeats into triumphs. Any difficulty you face—whether it’s a tear to your shoulder, a person who betrays you, a dysfunctional family, or the bad luck you have with the economy—can unleash power within you for good. Use that negative to help you not only climb out of the hole you’re in, but rise to greater heights. The greatest opportunities in life are the ones that test us the most.
• Dream. If your mind can conceive it, you can achieve it. Not on your own, and not without struggle and hardship and effort. But when that vision mixes with hard work and commitment, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
• Hope. In order to come back after a disappointment and accomplish something great, you have to believe in something bigger than yourself. But it’s not enough to just put your hope in hope. You have to have an object of hope. For me, God is the center of that hope, and I lean on him to order my steps and show me the right path. Having hope in the Lord means I trust in his plan and believe he’s never going to put anything in front of me that’s too hard to handle with his help.
• Be flexible. Be flexible enough to know when you’re being led in another direction, and then follow that new vision with all your heart. You are being led there for a reason—coincidence is usually God working anonymously.
• See adversity as an opportunity. No matter what comes your way, remember that God can use everything in your life for good, even though it may seem unfair or insurmountable at the time.
• Don’t be afraid of taking a few steps back. A step back is not necessarily a setback. Sometimes you have to take a few steps backward before you can get the momentum to jump over a chasm in your life.
• Don’t spectate—be ready. Instead of standing on the sidelines watching, spend that time getting ready for the next play. Too many of us are caught sleeping at life’s traffic lights. When the next opportunity comes your way, make sure you have prepared yourself well enough to seize the chance you’ve been given. You never know if you will get that opportunity again.
• Remember you are you. God created each one of us for a purpose. You will find that purpose in doing the small things well, in taking things one day at a time.
That purpose will always have an element of servings others.
When people think you’re not big enough, not smart enough, not wise enough, or not experienced enough for a task, remember that faith will carry you through. The test of adversity is one that’s fought with faith.
• Finish strong. It is not where you start in life, but rather how you finish. Keep it simple: in everything you do, make your last rep your best rep.