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Face-to-Face with Adversity

Aug 18, 2007
In order for us to win in life, we must push through the adversity we face. Without facing it, we are poorly prepared for winning. The truth is most of us don't welcome adversity like a long-lost friend. We don't embrace with passion the pain and setbacks that occur.

Alfred Russell Wallace was a famous botanist of the late 1800s. One day, Dr. Wallace was observing an Emperor butterfly struggling through the life and death adversity of escaping its cocoon. He wondered if he assisted the butterfly in its exit, what effect that would have on the butterfly.

With a knife, Dr. Wallace made an incision the length of the cocoon that allowed the butterfly to exit the cocoon with ease. The butterfly emerged from its cocoon, spread its wings, and died. The butterfly did not have to encounter adversity in struggling to exit the cocoon.

Through the struggle, the butterfly would have grown in strength. Since it failed to struggle and grow, it did not have the strength necessary to survive.

We often try to make incisions in our challenges and take the easy route. We take the quick exit as this butterfly did and fail to acquire the strength to compete. We often take the easy route to improve our skills. We never really work to achieve mastery in our career.

When we really have to exit the cocoon without the incision, we die in our cocoon. Pre-crafted tools can be very useful to our career, but they do not replace the skills we need to acquire to compete over the long term.

The skills of discipline, practice, and study, are only acquired through facing adversity by trial and error, success and failure. We must focus; learning to be the best in these skills will enable us to be masters of our careers. Going through the motions is not good enough.

Michael Jordan, when asked about why he practiced so hard, said, "I'm not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat." He was clearly there for a purpose -to prepare, so he could win. He was there to help his teammates prepare to win. George Allen, head coach for the Washington Redskins in the 1970's, said, "Winning can be defined as the science of being totally prepared."

The skills you need in order to achieve mastery in sales take practice and preparation. The only way to win is to practice. Most people don't win because of better equipment; they win by facing adversity to gain strength and skill. They win through preparation. Does Tiger Woods win because of his golf clubs or golf ball? Tiger could probably play with a K-Mart special set of clubs and tear up the golf course.

It's the skill that sets him apart. Strength comes from struggle, not from taking the path of least resistance. Adversity is not just a lesson for the next time in front of us. Adversity will be the greatest teacher we will ever have in life.

Take a quick look at your skills. Are you investing enough time in the improvement of those skills? Take a quick test. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being very poor and 10 being world-class, rate yourself in the areas you have outlined.

How did you do? What area needs the most attention? Make the commitment to spend one hour a day to improve the biggest need areas now! Take out your day timer and write an hour in daily to refine or practice or create what needs to be improved.

We all have areas where we fall short. We all fail at times. Abraham Lincoln said, "My great concern is not whether you have failed but whether you are content with your failure." It's easy to ignore the failure of our skills and blame it on new technology, the market, other Agents, and our broker. We all have prepared and rehearsed reasons that don't include us.

George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."

What circumstances or outcome do you want? What do you need to do to make them happen? They will not be achieved without working through adversity. You will have to sweat and struggle. It will be worth it in the end. The skill that you acquire will be permanent.

Ultimately, you will be able to say, "It's not what happens to me that matters but what happens in me." - Victor Frankl.
About the Author
Dirk Zeller is the widely published author of Your First Year in Real Estate, The Champion Real Estate Agent, and over 300 articles in print.

More Help With Selling Homes in Medford, Medford Oregon Real Estate
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