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Alvin C. Romer

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Drawing Dividends From Defeat
By Alvin C. Romer   

Last edited: Thursday, October 23, 2003
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2003

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Must we remain slumped and listless in the ashes of the type of defeat one suffers, or can success be salvaged from such ashes the materials to build new lives? This is a blueprint to benefit from defeat.

Drawing Dividends From Defeat

In an ideal world where there's no pain and suffering it would be a natural reaction to turn the other cheek, grin or bear it, or even to take it with a grain of salt. All of these are clichés that would work well in that atmosphere, but the competitive fires often times fueled by pride and prejudices allow us to see just how real things really are in the world we reside in. This essay will give rise to ways Christians and Non-Christians alike can profit from bad events in life. I will attempt to reveal six ways why most people fail in their attempts to achieve success, and give solutions to benefit from defeat. We all have our share of setbacks....they may come in the form of failed marriages, the loss of a job, disappointing expectations, or losing at anything. These are maladies conducive to being ill-prepared in thinking positively and having a sense of discernment. More often than not, the type of defeat is not nearly as crucial as how we react to it. The mindset is all important in not allowing catastrophic responses to uphold negativity. Must we drown in our tears, wallow in self-pity and be ambivalent to change...or shall we purposely purport that we can build anew? Martin Luther King stated in one of his many speeches, "an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns" Taking this into context, there's no reason why preparedness shouldn't be a key proponent to all that has been discussed up to now. I believe wholeheartedly that 90% of all who fail in life are not actually defeated as opposed to simply quitting. What lessons can we as an accomplished entities, who are aspiring to be the masters and mistresses of our own destinies be creative and endure sustaining values in all of this? I would like for you to consider the following points taken from my collective view and opinion. These mantras derive from my overall conviction that it isn't defeat that makes us failures -- it's our refusal to see in defeat a need to adhere to all that would allow setbacks to become win backs as long as we believe in a higher order. Consider if you will:

Rise Above Self-Pity

The "why me" syndrome that feeds into introspective evaluation when one gives up is natural in trying to lay blame for not following through when things go bad. The fickle finger of fate cannot be controlled by any of us, no more than what God allows to happen for the benefit of weighing the virtues of lessons learned. Feeling sorry for us and not doing the necessary things to guard against certain pitfalls often is the result of many things that lend it to not being connected spiritually. I'm reminded of a motivational speech I heard orator Les Brown give when he made an analogy to his earlier experiences before attaining the level of success he enjoys now. He alluded to how in his opinion the Lord deliberately took away some of his stated pleasures and accomplishments rendering him helpless and down and out on his fortunes. Nonetheless, he was flat on his back, without a job, no livelihood beyond where the next blessing would come from. To illustrate my point, it was no wonder that the position he was in allowed him only one directional option -- and that was to look up, go straight and turn right. The lesson learned was that if he could look up, he could get up. Self pity has no place in God's realm, or in the community of your affairs!

Thinking Positively

Anyone with low self esteem and pessimistic at heart will not ascend to any lofty goals, real or imagined without thinking in a positive vein. Sitting around brooding about what could've or should've been would sink one deeper in despair. "You are what you think" is no idle adage, nor is it something that should be ignored. If we allow ourselves to think negatively and have all sorts of defeatist thoughts we would be susceptible to making wrong decisions and not being discernable to thinking that you can. I spent many years instilling in young and old folks alike in my teaching career the importance of altering attitudes. If you think you can't, you won't. Draw dividends from defeat by thinking positive.

Use and Learn From Your Experiences

"If you can give back to that which you emanated from then you're not being part of the process that brought you". I used to hear my grandmother say this over and over again. It was years after leaving her nest that I really learned what the ramifications of this was. Our communities are disenfranchised and our familial units are asunder because when we leave for greener pastures we often forget the importance of giving something back. This giving back of resources when done right automatically puts us in position to use what we've gained by allowing life's experiences to be the teacher for others NOT to follow in the unwise counsel of non-compliance. I'm compelled to believe that every success I know has been reached because I'm able to analyze defeat and actually profit by it. The experiences of life can at times be a harsh teacher, but if we are willing to learn from them and use them, they may act as a trusted friend. A loving God helps us to profit from experiences, even negative ones!

Examining Alternatives

It pays to be versatile. Flexibility in this case is being able to stay on top when defeat is near avoiding thinking that there is only one avenue to achieving goals. When the mind is open, and you’re honest with your inner being, new awareness open more doors that may prove to be much better choices… these are the comfort zones where we must nurture seeds for positive thought as explained elsewhere in this article. The key is putting you in position in making adjustments and rolling with the flow…thinking out of the box, and allowing yourself the opportunity to make wise choices. If you do all of this your chance of winning would more than balance the scales.

Develop a Sense of Humor

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, but most of us don’t laugh enough. Sometimes the time it’s hardest to laugh is the time we need laughter the most. I’ve seen times when a mere smile was all that was necessary to give good intent to perception gone awry. When we can add a little mirth and merriment to life’s school of hard knocks it tends to soften and lessen the road to success. Relax, release, and relate…I hear this all the time from a good friend of mine who also uses laughter to make her world tolerable. A sense of humor is no small ingredient in our efforts to rescue dividends from the jaws of defeat. Smiles and all the candid cameras of our lives are always at the ready to snap a shot of reality to your world between winning and losing!

Set New Goals

Once we have dealt with all of the above, we are now ready to establish direction in our lives. Manifest destiny will have been the norm rather than the exception for uncharted territory. All it takes is EFFORT. Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, and Alexander Graham Bell, all of them had countless experiment failures, and they all had something in common – they persevered. Weathering the storm and aiming high to join company with the successes in life is attainable. But you MUST have a plan. A broken romance may lead to a more enduring relationship, a loss of a job may lead to finding more satisfying employment, a school failure may lead to a wise change of career, losing a ball game may strengthen a sense of teamwork – you get the picture! Defeat is not synonymous with failure unless we allow it to be. Defeat touches all of our lives. It is a monster from which none of us is immune…but if we rise above self-pity, think positively, learn from experiences, look at alternatives, maintain a sense of humor, and set goals for ourselves our heavenly Father will take care of the rest. Unless this is done, we will never be able to draw dividends in the face of defeat.



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