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Life is a promise; fulfill it. —MOTHER TERESA 11 STRATEGIES FOR A BRIGHT TRIUMPH 197 AT A TIME WHEN LIVING IN AMERICA resembles a roller-coaster ride on the way down, I hope our stories are instructive in offering suggestions on how we can overcome life’s darkest hours. Today, untold numbers are living Thoreau’s “lives of quiet desperation,” without the drive to shift gears. Yet anyone can overcome tough times, not just the few who seem to soar effortlessly. No doubt, choreographing these changes takes courage—the courage to take risks. As Walt Disney once put it: “Courage is the main quality of leadership—it implies some risks.” Therefore, trumping a world turned dark and dangerous requires fearless commitment, with many stops and starts along the way. What then have we learned from these relentless bravehearts? Here are six lessons, exemplified by the individuals profiled in this book. 1. Learn From Adversity “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm,” said Winston Churchill, whose life was littered with disappointments. The Last Lion, as William Manchester called him, was the dominant personality of the last century. He understood that setbacks are inevitable when we pursue a bright triumph. What set him apart was his incredible grit. To Churchill, anything was possible. Victory was always at hand. Remember his words at Harrow: “Never give in!” he told students. “Never give in, never, never, never never!” Like Churchill, the folks we have profiled refused to equate the occasional setback with defeat. They expected some dry spells along the way. Recall that Gary Guller and Joanne Boyle refused to be debilitated by 198 bright triumphs their brush with death. Guller returned to high-altitude climbing, while Boyle reemerged as one of the nation’s most successful coaches. The only person who never stumbles is the person who always plays it safe. Triumphant personalities understand that not everything is going to work. Overcoming those disappointments requires “a delicate balance of remembering and forgetting,” says self-help author Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. Fessinguphelps.InshapingacomebackafterherdarkdaysatHewlettPackard , Carly Fiorina was asked if she felt responsible for the company’s stagnant stock price in the years before her ouster. “Oh yeah,” she said. “In some cases, I put the wrong person in the wrong job, or I didn’t assess someone’s capabilities properly.” As we learned, her successor, Pattie Dunn, later acknowledged her own shortcomings for the pretexting scandal, admitting: “I could have done things better.” But there’s a fine line between self-criticism and self-excoriation. Rather than overstating their deficiencies, resilient men and women don’t wallow in the darkness. They accept adversity and move on. Although haunted by memories of his fatal collision with the Ehime Maru, submariner Scott Waddle eventually got over it, forging a new life as a motivational speaker. “A high failure, a catastrophic event, doesn’t define you,” he tells his audiences today. “Keep your character intact. That defines you as a person.” However, even when the stakes are high, the challenge should be winnable—not impossible. There definitely are hellholes out there, situations resembling what C. S. Lewis called “shadowlands,” places of disappointment and faded dreams. Far too often, headstrong personalities make a Faustian bargain trying to right what is clearly a sinking ship. In the process, they give up everything. They lose touch with their spouses. They become strangers to their children. Friends drop away. In extreme cases, parents are lost and barely mourned. At some point, their obsessive ambition costs them soul and substance. Look at the extraordinary beating Pattie Dunn, Scott Waddle, and Steve Case took in the press a few years ago. They discovered that you may be a hero one minute and a zero the next. Savvy people know when to sidestep disaster and walk away. So don’t forsake your dreams: shift 199 strategies for a bright triumph to those that are more manageable. Remember, in his rational moments, even Don Quixote recognized when he was tilting at windmills. 2. Fashion a New Dream “Not failure, but low aim, is a crime,” wrote poet, critic, and diplomat James Russell Lowell. Swim in bigger ponds. Set giant goals. Construct a grand vision of where you want to go and how you’ll get there. You don’t have to be superhuman to achieve a bright triumph. But you do have to imagine both your goals and the pathway to...


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