Willie Jolley
Motivational speaker and Authr

Willie Jolley

Award Winning Speaker and Singer, Best Selling Author and host of "The Willie Jolley Motivational Minute" daily on WUSA-Channel 9 and WHUR-FM and The Willie Jolley Show, weekends on XM Radio, Channel 169.


Blessings in disguise

Ladies and gentleman, it's official: A new study concludes that "adverse life events" not only make you stronger but also more satisfied with your life. It also found that people who face less adversity usually do not fare as well as those who do. Researchers concluded that ''people are more resilient than we thought and happier because of it." 

Have you ever experienced an emotional, financial, or personal setback? Has that setback ever been a key to your success? 

In my book, "A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback," I share ideas that track with researchers' recent findings that most succes is born out of failure.

In the first chapter of my book, I share quotes that help explain that adversity is essential to growing stronger. One example is a quote from J. Willard Marriott, the creator of the Marriott hotel empire. He once said, "Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind, the stronger become the trees."

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times in his professional baseball career. But because of his willingness to continue on after failure, he went on to amass the record-setting tally of 714 home runs. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his flagship Macy's department store of New York City caught on!

The great Walt Disney, creator of Disney Motion Pictures and Disney World, failed numerous times, suffered a nervous breakdown and lost his home before he was able to develop a successful cartoon about a mouse named Mickey.

The moral of these American success stories is that the most amazing successes are more often than not built upon early adversity. It is important to bear in mind that only out of adversity can massive success truly be born, and it is our job as humans striving for excellence to turn these adversities into eventual successes. 

One key is to see your adversities as a bump in the road and not the end of the road. Setbacks are integral parts of the development process that prepares you for success. 

A second key to turning adversity into success is one's attitude. Do you see your current adversity as a "setback-period" or as a "setback-comma"? As children, we were taught that a period means the end of a sentence or a story, whereas a comma signifies a pause, with more yet to come.

When we have a setback, we have the choice of deciding if it will be a period or a comma in our life's story. I encourage you to see life's challenges as a comma and not a period, but you are the one who must make the choice. 

Remember that your attitude determines how you see and respond to the problem you are facing. As Bob Johnson, the founder of BET and current billionaire, once wrote, "Adversity can either make you or break you. The same hammer that breaks the glass happens to be the same hammer that sharpens the steel!" Hence, your eventual success or failure depends on your attitude and perspective. 

While writing my books and looking back over my life, I see that setbacks were actually the touchstones that led to my greatest successes. For example, my start in the speaking industry only came after first being a nightclub singer who was fired and replaced by a karaoke machine!

At the time, I was upset because I had worked really hard to build a large audience for my band. Nevertheless, I was fired because a machine was cheaper than a five-person band. I refused to give up, taking a job with the Washington D.C. public school system as a drug prevention coordinator. From there, I found a voice that I was unaware I had. Unbeknown to me, my professional speaking career had just begun. 

Without being fired and replaced by a karaoke machine, I would never have given my first speech, which led to more speeches. Without those speeches, I would have never made radio and television appearances. Without those appearances, I would most likely have never been invited to put my ideas into a book. And without those books that I went on to author, I would most likely have never been identified to write columns for publications such as The Washington Post.

If you take nothing else from this response, remember that your success greatly depends on your perspective and attitude. From great adversity, major success can come!

By Willie Jolley  |  November 15, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success and adversity Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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