In an early episode of Andy Griffith, little Opie was about 6 years old. His daddy, Andy, was pondering a scheme to capture a fugitive in a way that would help increase Barney’s self-esteem. Opie jumped in with a very significant question regarding the timing of the impending arrest to which Andy responded, “Well son, now that’s a right thoughtful question.”
Opie grins and puffs out his chest, “I thought about it today while I was standing in the corner.”
Have you ever noticed that sometimes our keenest insights come out of the times when we’re in trouble? Times when we’re forced to wipe the slate clean and look for new solutions?
On a cold December night in 1914, Thomas Edison’s factory burst out in flames that consumed all of the inventor’s current projects and much of his life’s work. At 67 years old he watched everything he had worked for being destroyed in front of his own eyes. The next morning, Mr.Edison looked at the ruins of his factory and said this of his loss: “There’s value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew.”
What a wonderful perspective on things that seem at first to be so disastrous. A ravaging hurricane, a job loss, business failure, personal dream gone sour — whether these things destroy an individual depends largely on the attitude he or she takes toward them. Sort out what has happened, get the advice of people you trust and begin to immediately create a plan of action. Think of different approaches that can be taken. Start over. With the slate wiped clean, look forward. Be wiser and humbler in view of what has happened, but don’t stop living because of it.
Yes, I’ve been there, done that. In 1988 I had the opportunity to look at my own clean slate. From there, I began to see the vision of what I do and where I am today. Continued “success” in the business I had then would have prevented me from seeing a better path.
You may not wish for a personal disaster, but if you have trouble seeing the future positively, you might at least try standing in the corner for a while.
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. — Henry Ford
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