Emotional Intelligence: Perceiving Situations Positively

How many of you reading this article have experienced pain, sadness, and/or hurt? I know I have. Life will not always be filled with happiness, but in the midst of this eerie state, how many of us rise above the pain and see things in a different light? Every situation you encounter can be viewed negatively or positively. It can be used to your advantage or disadvantage. More importantly, it can make or break you.

Below are three examples of how people used negative situations to succeed in life:

  1. James “Buster” Douglas: Briefly speaking, this became one of the biggest upsets in boxing and sports history. Douglas, who at the time was a 29 year old decent boxer with a record of 29-4-1 was set to take on the monster which was Mike Tyson who held a 42-1 record (practically undefeated). As any mother would, Douglas’s mom who worked in a beauty shop would tell all the customers that her son was going to defeat Mike Tyson and become the heavyweight champion of the world. Sadly, less than a month from the fight, Douglas’s mother passed away. On top of this terrible occurrence, Douglas was in the process of separating from his wife. Imagine the stress, pain, and hurt Douglas was feeling at that point in his life. Having to also fight the best heavyweight boxer in the world appeared to be an unsurmountable task. At that exact moment, Douglas had two choices: 1) let his pain overtake his desire to become the best or 2) use his pain to ignite a fire of motivation that would help him win. In the 10th round of the fight, history was made. Buster Douglas knocked out Goliath (Mike Tyson). When his hand was raised and the realization of victory had settled, Douglas broke out in tears and thought “this was for you mom, you believed in me and I made it happen”.
  2. Jim Carrey: Jim was homeless in 1987 and had nothing in a material sense. What he did possess is one of the world’s most powerful intangible tools that is visualization. As he would sit there feeling hopeless, he would extract a rush of energy from simply seeing how his life would be like if he was to act in a big movie. Knowing firmly that he had the necessary capabilities to be successful, he focused his energy on remaining optimistic in hopes that an opportunity will one day come knocking. On Thanksgiving Day 1995, he wrote a check to himself for $10 million and gave himself a 5 year deadline to reach his goal. Year after year, the check laid in its place deteriorating in condition when finally 3 years later exactly on Thanksgiving Day, he found out that he was going to make $10 million on the movie Dumb and Dumber.
  3. Nick Vujicic: Nick was born with a very rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs (having no arms and legs). As you can imagine, life was very difficult for him growing up as he did not understand why he was born so different. Every morning he would wake up wishing he was able to do the things everyone else could easily do. After several attempts to take his own life, he realized that life has more to offer and he can be grateful for what he does have (a loving family, supportive friends, and the power to motivate others) . He took advantage of his disadvantage and showed the world that everything is possible if you change the way you look at your situation. At the age of 17, he started his own non-profit organization called Life Without Limbs. Also, he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in accounting and finance. Today, he is a motivational speaker who has addressed over 3 million people in almost 60 countries. He is married and has two healthy children. Oh and before I forget, on his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer and swimming!

Whenever you find yourself in a hopeless state, ask yourself what opportunity does this challenge provide?  By doing so, these negative situations will make you a better, stronger, and more knowledgeable person in life. Instead of casting more darkness on this world, strive to become a beacon of light for those whose lives seem dire and hopeless.

” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

Video links to each person described above:

Buster Douglas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt8LZ8FjGN8

Jim Carrey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEOW_uhF8bk

Nick Vujicic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P2nPI6CTlc