Often times, people reach out to me from a position at which they feel they will never be able to regain the feeling of confidence that they possessed at a previous time in their life. They feel so embarrassed by the situations they find themselves in, that they could never imagine recovering. Digging down to the root of why we feel so low at these times has to do with our perspective. We are not able to relate to these terrible events until they happen in our own lives. We remember the negative thoughts we had had when we heard about their event, and then we project that everyone around us must look similarly at our own situation.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are unique, and the only one that has had such events is yourself. Everyone will have them at some point in their lives. If they have not yet, it is not because they are a better person, but because they are ones who have not yet been challenged by the influences in life that have produced this mindset in others. Also, these are the events that we all try to hide. Many people (even those standing beside you) have had such indignities, but you will never hear of them. We block them out of our minds and memories to the point at which we ourselves often cannot recall them.
The greatest figures in history have felt and experienced these very same life changing and indignant types of events. In fact, the greatest people have had some of the greatest failures as well. Sam Walton’s (later founder of Walmart) first attempt at variety store ownership ended with his store stolen from him through a faulty lease agreement. Albert Einstein had marital discord that was so great a driving force that he agreed to sign over any future Nobel Prize money to his ex-wife as part of the divorce settlement. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison for Anti-Apartheid efforts before becoming president of South Africa in 2008. Napoleon Bonaparte’s first attempt in the political arena ended in disaster; with him and his entire family being forced to flee their home country of Corsica. Ancient texts such as the Bible are full of such stories; where the heel of society transpires from impoverished or imprisonment, to leadership.
Taking a glance throughout history, you will find these great failures as a single line, lacking details or embellishment. Why is it that that we only remember the great success of leaders while deemphasizing their earlier shortcomings? This is due to the aspect of human nature that views situations with the values of which a person displays over the majority of their life. In short, a monumental failure followed by a monumental success equals two monumental successes. We see the turnaround of failure-to-success as an earlier success in the person’s life.
By taking the bull by the horns, nearly every great person has used this aspect of human nature to their benefit; gaining the strength to lead by the self-acceptance of failure turned into self-ownership. When your moment of truth arrives in your lowest life event, dig deep and turn it into the greatest monumental success.