When you face a setback or hardship, you can turn it into an asset if you stay positive and grateful. Take a lesson from the great inventor Thomas Edison.
At a young age, Edison was diagnosed with a hearing impairment. That kind of news might cause some people to ask, “Why me?” and make excuses about why they weren’t capable of achieving success. But not Edison. He even framed his hearing loss as a blessing, saying later in his life he was grateful for it because the silence allowed him to concentrate better in the lab. Instead of looking at it as a misfortune, he turned his hardship into a gift.
We’re all capable of that if we dig deep enough and retrain our brains to think of things in a different light. I’ve tried to do it in my own life—and it’s made all the difference.
I had $5,000 in my suitcase, almost every dime I owned, when I first came to the United States. What happened next might have crushed someone else. As I took my first few steps into this great country, my suitcase containing all my money was stolen at the JFK airport. That money was supposed to be my future—it was going to be used to bring my message of Brain Education to the United States.
I knew I didn’t want to become a victim and view my money as a loss. If I assumed that role, I would be letting someone else take my dream from me. Instead, I decided to reframe the whole situation. Instead of thinking of myself as a victim, I preferred to think of myself as a generous benefactor. I told myself that I had just made a donation to one of New York’s needy people.
Changing how you view something can alter your present and your future. This is your one life, your one chance to accomplish everything you want to do. Remembering that can help you become or remain more grateful for the opportunities you have.
Take Your Shot
This is your one chance to love and be loved, help others, and make an impact on the world. The actions you take today may be felt for decades to come. It’s your story—and you have the starring role. When you begin viewing that as an opportunity and a gift, it can lead to better choices and a deep sense of thankfulness.
When things don’t go your way, view it as a lesson rather than a setback. Decide to do the best with the cards you have in front of you. Wishing you had somebody else’s cards won’t help you at all. You’ll be stuck in a cycle of envy and stagnation. You’ll be too caught up in anger and bitterness to fully reach your potential.
The Alchemy of Gratitude
To move forward, you have to accept where you’re starting from. It can help to acknowledge all the things you do have in front of you rather than thinking about what you don’t. It will allow you to make your own luck and create your own destiny, which is always much more satisfying than just being given a lucky hand from the start.
By concentrating on the things you do have rather than what you don’t, you’ll be much happier and content with your life. The simple act of being grateful can lead to the momentum that will take you to great things—and you’ll feel better about every step of your journey.