“Seasick” was the headline above a picture of a very dejected Peyton Manning. SuperBowl XLVIII results came as a shock. Millions of dollars changed hands; no one, including Seattle, expected the score to be 43 to 8. The most devastating losses may not have been financial, but emotional.
How many losses have you experienced? If you are like me, there have been numerous financial and emotional losses throughout my life. It is not whether we have suffered losses or even the extent of the loss, but how we handled the defining moment. Some lash out with blame, anger and violence. Others push all of the emotion inside and suffer depression. What do you do when you encounter a loss? How do you handle your defining moments?
The statement on the top of the cover of the book Emotional Ice Water is “It’s not what they say or do. It’s what YOU think, feel & do.” We always have a choice; we can accept responsibility for our part in a situation or we can blame someone or something else.
It was the crowd noise that disrupted the famous ‘Omaha’ snap count for Peyton. It is the economy. It is the fault of the government. We can blame a myriad of outside factors for any loss. We can contrive any number of excuses for events or situations which turned out differently than we desired or we can accept responsibility and learn from the experience.
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Epictetus
Life presents us with numerous defining moments. A graduation, a wedding, or the birth of a child is a moment of joy, gratitude and gleeful expectation. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a promotion, or a serious illness can send our emotions plummeting to the depths of our soul. These defining moments mold, shape and direct our lives.
“Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.” You may not have chosen the result you received; however, you do have full control of your thoughts, feelings and actions after the event. It is not about what they say or do, it’s what YOU think, feel and do.
For the Broncos, Bronco fans and even football fans who wanted to see a good close game, there is natural disappointment. Game over. The next step is choosing how to think, feel and act. Your attitude and your actions are 100% within your control.
Attitude and Action
Our attitude is shaped by our beliefs and desires. The attitude we choose determines our future.
A diamond in its natural state appears to be a rock with some attractive characteristics. Only when it is shaped and polished does it become a valuable gem. It is our attitude and action through the harsh times in our lives which shape and polish us into individuals of noteworthy character. Events happen. How we interpret those events determines our future. Truly remarkable people thrive through adversity.
Attitude and Action Choices
1. Ridicule the person you feel treated you unfairly. Tell everyone how you are a victim of this terrible person.
2. Conduct a pity party for yourself. Curl up in a corner and cry. Open a bottle of your alcoholic drink of choice and guzzle the entire bottle.
3. Punch a hole in the wall with your fist. Throw china against the wall. Kick a tree.
4. Eat a bag of chocolate, a bag of potato chips and a gallon of ice cream.
5. Face the facts and look for what could be good about the situation.
What Could Be Good
A mentor of mine once told me to debrief after every speech. This same practice could be applied to every defining moment.
1. What went well in the situation and the events leading up to the actual day?
2. What did not go well?
3. What circumstances could have been improved?
4. What undesirable elements could have been prevented with different actions before the event?
5. What lessons can be learned which will improve future performances?
We may not control every aspect of the game of life, but we do have control of our attitude and action.