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The Midweek Motivator – Disasters

“Sweet are the uses of adversity” wrote Shakespeare. In the late summer of ‘92, Florida City, Florida people walked through the rubble where their homes once stood. A father walked through a neighborhood where he had grown up, and where his father had lived for decades. Looking around he saw twisted wreckage: torn aluminum siding, shards of glass, pink insulation ripped from walls. A few framed family photos were all he found.

“It doesn’t look like a town” the man said to no one in particular. That’s what was left to families after Hurricane Andrew scarred south Florida’s coastline where 250,000 people were left homeless. Everything they knew was swept away. Said Florida City’s mayor, “People want to know what’s going to happen to them…but there’s no quick fix. It hurts to think about the future.”  Without question Andrew was the most devastating storm of the last hundred years.

Still, human beings are a lot more resourceful than we realize. There, survivors communicated by spraying messages on surfaces of buildings still standing: “Grandpa Mathews Is Ok.” Andrew was a crisis greater than most of us will ever experience, including the dark shadows of Covid 19.The scars left by tragedies are slow to heal, just as they were after Andrew. That’s what happened back then in ravaged South Florida, and it’s what will happen in the aftermath of Covid.

A thunderbolt like a Pandemic or any devastating tragedy is something beyond our control that suddenly strikes us; our city, our neighborhood and perhaps our family. We have no choice but to take the blow. But we DO have a choice on what to do next. That much is within our power. In the coming year the sky may still glow from sudden upheaval. It’s part of the game of constant change and the business of life.

Thunderbolts also come with business: we lose a top-rated morning show, our blue ribbon Sales Manager announces they’re leaving or a strong competitor drastically cuts rates. So, we brutally hammer ourselves and often stop to wait for someone to show us a miracle, to open a door. And, sometimes, we play the victim: “Well that’s the way it goes…I never get a break. It wasn’t meant to be…”

And harsh as it sounds, at times when blind-sided by adversity some people get so much caring poured on them their set-back actually begins to feel good. But sympathy is like junk food; there’s no real benefit and the emptiness of loss quickly returns while little gets accomplished. The only way out of sustaining disappointment is to do something about it today…right now! 

Forget about sympathy. Lose the “ain’t it awful” mentality and attack your goal whatever it might be with the same intensity, the same effort, that brought you to your success in the first place! Failure and setbacks can be as much a part of your personal story as your success.

Be angry, even upset, but be intrepid in your commitment to come back even stronger and as soon as possible! Only those who are negatively inclined, accept a loss. People with a positive, winning script don’t! H.G. Wells said it best: “The crisis of yesterday is the joke of tomorrow.” Clearly that doesn’t apply to Covid 19, yet the determination to transcend the moment is our only option! Let’s roll!