You cannot win this inner battle against failure without the positive attitude that contentment brings. But if you think positively and do not act, you will not be able to overcome adversity. You must combine positive actions with a positive attitude. Some people experience difficulties because they focus on things that will always be beyond their control. Fred Smith, a leadership specialist, says that to take positive actions, one must know the difference between a problem and the facts of life.

A problem can be solved. The facts of life must be accepted.”

For example, for Greg Horn, the flood was a fact, a reality of life. He did not waste time wondering what would have happened if he had built his store elsewhere (no other grocery store in town had been flooded). Not being insured against floods was also a fact, a reality of life. And the fact that he could not enter his store for several days was also part of reality.

But Greg focused on the problems he could solve, such as finding money to make necessary repairs and restocking his inventory, a way to dispose of damaged goods, and a way to reopen his business as soon as possible. He channeled his energies into elements that could benefit him, maintained as positive an attitude as possible, and took positive actions.


Failure is an internal process. So is success. If you want to succeed, you must first win the war your thoughts are waging. You must not let failure penetrate your mind. You cannot decide the length of your life, but you can control its breadth and depth. You cannot change the shape of your face, but you can control its expression. You cannot change the weather, but you can control the atmosphere in which your mind bathes. Why worry about things beyond your control when you can keep busy controlling the things that depend on you?

I read an article highlighting the strength, courage, and resilience of the Norwegian people. Some of the greatest explorers in history were Norwegians (including Roald Amundsen, whom I mentioned in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership). Whatever the rigors of the climate or the difficulties encountered, they always persevered.

This skill is an integral part of their culture. This people venerates outdoor activities, even though they live near the Arctic Circle. Norwegians have a saying that, in my opinion, reflects their attitude well:

There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!


You may be thinking right now, “That’s all well and good, John. But you haven’t lived what I’ve lived through. Even Greg Horn’s story is nothing compared to mine. After all, he only lost money!” If you still have difficulty believing that failure is truly experienced from within, you need to know the story of a man who maintained a winning attitude while experiencing extremely challenging times.

His name is Roger Crawford, and as I write these lines, he is in his forties. He earns a living as a consultant and speaker. He has written two books and travels across the country to work with Fortune 500-listed companies, national associations, federal agencies, and school boards.

These professional credentials are not insignificant. But if they don’t impress you, what about this? Before becoming a consultant, he was a member of the Loyola Marymount University tennis team and later a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association. Need more? Will you change your mind if I tell you that Roger has only one foot and no hands?


This text is an excerpt from the book “Overcoming Adversity: How to Use Your Mistakes as a Springboard to Success” written by John c. Maxwell.

We invite you to read the following article “What Sets Successful People Apart from Average People?“.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *