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How to Beat Defeat

Updated on September 19, 2012

Are You a Winner in Life's Game of Choice?

We live in interesting times. How’s that for a cliché? When one considers the political situation of the United States, it is easy to fall into the despair of uncertainty. Will my mortgage get paid? How close am I to losing my job? What will happen when the tests come back from the doctor?

The key to managing any of life’s challenges is resilience. The root of the word itself comes from the Latin, “resilientem” which refers to pliability. The ability to be flexible in the face of obstacles is a way of understanding this concept. An applicable analogy is the picture of a rubber band stretched to the limit of breaking, but continually bouncing back into some sort of shape. What are the qualities of resilient people? How does this relate to beating the defeatist attitude that plagues so many individuals?

Viewing life’s challenges as adventures in learning is the first step in becoming resilient. There is a Liberian proverb that states “Do not look where you fell, look where you slipped”. The image of slipping is a strong way to appreciate that as long as one remains breathing, there is the hope of better horizons. Understanding that a slip is just that, allows one to view the future with a “possibilitzed” attitude. The story of Edison and the 4000 trials before a successful light bulb comes to mind.

The attitude that a problem is a wall to surmount rather than a barrier to success is another way to overcome defeat. Look at the people who take in dares. Becoming more like these individuals will give one the attitude of “don’t tell me I can’t, because I’ll show YOU”. Understand this as the smart alleck kid on the playground who dares you to chase him down after he teases or taunts.

Mentality is essential in overcoming defeat. The victim world view of so many people is perhaps the greatest impediment to one’s forward momentum. What does the world actually owe you? What are the only two things you have to do in life? Here’s a hint: One involves toilet paper wipes and the other involves your lungs. When the “poor pitiful me” is left in the doorway of despair, one can walk into the ballroom of “what abundant thing is going to happen?” Chuck Penhuniak is quoted as saying “This is your life. And it’s ending one moment at a time.” Are you well endowed enough to waste one moment is self pity?

Affirmations, positive self talk, inspirational cards and listening to trainer tapes are written about in every article relating to stress reduction techniques. They don’t work. They are inanimate objects, or abstract ideas. YOU work. People, who use these techniques continuously, find success in overcoming negative thinking rather than existing with fear. People who don’t use the suggestions are the ones who espouse the cynic’s attitude of “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never HELP me.” As any 12 stepper will testify, “IT only works if you work IT.”

Before these people are too old to impart their wisdom, talk to anyone who lived through the Great Depression. Read that last line again. Notice the capital letters G and D. Not the great depression of one’s sadness. Listen to those stories sand ask yourself “how bad do I really have it?” Serious illness aside, how difficult is it to get out of the house and volunteer somewhere? To walk through the neighborhood? To visit a shut in? To walk through the doors of a school and ask the magic question “How can I serve?”

How to beat defeat? Move. Behave. Those are the only things one can control. Stop looking in the mirror for one second unless it is to look and shout “God! Am I Lucky!” Dream dreams and you will indeed see miracles.



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    • profile image

      A. Michael Rospenda 

      6 years ago

      thanks billy! We need to talk!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your message is a powerful one my friend; my parents grew up during the Great Depression, and their lessons were passed on to me, and I agree with your hub completely.


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