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Turning Obstacles into Opportunity

June 22, 2020

In his book, The Obstacle Is The Way, author Ryan Holiday tells the story about a fire that destroyed the laboratories of Thomas Edison. Years of research, product prototypes and other seemingly irreplaceable items literally went up in smoke in the course of a few hours.

Later, at the scene of the blaze, Edison was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “Although I am over 67 years old, I'll start all over again tomorrow.” He told the reporter that he was exhausted from remaining at the scene until the chaos was under control, but he stuck to his word and immediately began rebuilding the next morning without firing any of his employees.

The author’s subtitle is The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. We all encounter obstacles, large and small, in our personal and professional lives. Our reactions to these obstacles are what define our path in life. If we allow ourselves to sink into despair, we set ourselves up for a sad, unfulfilling life. However, if we remain positive and look at each obstacle as an opportunity, we can build a life of happiness and success.

A very wise man once told me, “A positive attitude is not only the best attitude–it’s the only attitude.” What good does it do us or our business to buckle under to hopelessness and despair when obstacles–large or small–confront us? Falling into despair never solves anything. It only creates misery for us and those around us.

Despite the fact that Edison only had enough insurance to pay for about a third of the damage, he re-built and was up and running his factory and labs within one month’s time. Was it easy? No. Was there any other viable response? No.

Finding the opportunity to overcome a challenge ultimately makes you stronger.

Turn your trials into triumph!

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