Weekly thoughts from the forklift…(originally published in Jan 2019)
We might not be able to control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we feel about the things that happen to us.
The late Senator John McCain came to see me while I was recovering from my climbing accident years ago, he shared with me a story that I knew would someday change my life. (I feel so blessed to have had a friendship with that man. We would run into each other many more times over the years, and every time he went out of his way to say hi and ask me how I was. We need more men to live with passion like he did, men who actually have convictions)
He told me about a decision he made while he was a prisoner of war. He said the prison camps were a horrible place, full of torture and pain. Most of his fellow inmates wished for death, they gave up. They let themselves be prisoners, both physically and mentally. One day however, he said he separated himself from the others. He knew he had no control over being a prisoner physically, but realized nobody but himself could hold him prisoner mentally. Was this experience going to be a blessing or a curse?
He said to me – “ I made a decision one day while in the camps that every time they beat me, broke an arm, or hurt me in some way, I was going to be grateful for it. I was going to embrace it. I was going to be thankful for the things being done to me, because someday these things would be my fuel to be a great human being. Matt, you’ve been given an amazing gift…once you are ready to embrace it”.
I may be slightly paraphrasing above, but those were the words as I remember them. I’ll never forget them.
Practice recognizing your feelings and tracing them to their origins, to your thoughts. If you can control how you think about something, you can also control how it makes you feel.
The only difference between adversity and an opportunity…is an attitude. I know this.
Action: Look at your past and identify a struggle or major obstacle that you endured. How did it change you? What did you learn? Are there reasons to actually be thankful for this thing and even leverage it? Identifying this one thing can help you see what fuels your passion, or why you get so much energy when pursuing something.