Sometimes Goliath Wins

It happens. You exert your best efforts to succeed and you end up defeated. It is not the way it was supposed to happen. Your hard work, imaginative planning, and dedication nets you a disappointing blank. Emotions surge because, after all, you are human too. Frustration, anger, disappointment and even surrender swirl around in your mind until it becomes a kaleidoscope of anxiety. Maybe it was a girl you wanted and got shot down or a promotion at work you thought you had in the bag. It happens and it happens to all of us sometime in our lives. All the affirmations in the world won’t be enough to renew our strength to try again. Goliath won and you aren’t sure how to brush yourself off and try again.

Unless you plan on deep freezing yourself until the next century, you know that you must face tomorrow, even after a humiliating defeat or rejection. If you consider what others have endured throughout history and how they got back up, you might start to imagine how you also can and will face another day on your feet. Remember, if they can do it, so can you, we are all made up of the same stuff. If we do what others have done in similar circumstances it is reasonable to assume that we shall also obtain their results. Let’s take a look at what works.

First of all, you absolutely must take ownership of whatever happened to you, even if it was beyond your control. Assigning blame or fault feels good for about three seconds until you realize that no one cares. If the boss wasn’t such an egotist, if the woman wasn’t so self-centered if my business plan would just get the recognition it deserves from investors… Sure, if everything around you changed, life would be a Disney movie wouldn’t it? But that is not real life nor is it possible to change everything around you. However, you have all the power in the world to make personal changes within yourself. That all starts between your two ears. How you have perceived what has happened to you is the first domino that falls into the next domino of how you react to it and the next domino is the ripple effect of your reaction which becomes your environment. One thing I have learned after I suffocated my ego with a pillow, was that almost every negative reaction I get from other people has nothing to do with me as much as it does with the way they already chose to see the world and everybody in it. They all have their own life shows to star in and I hardly amount to a stagehand in it. The juiciest, most delicious steak you can offer a friend will be rejected as garbage if he is a vegetarian. Yet we want to feel rejected, hurt and pushed aside. There is no fault involved, just a matter of life choices. Different strokes for different folks.

Secondly, we seem to place so much importance on one particular possibility for our lives. When I was a mechanic in a municipal sewage treatment plant, my goal was to become a level three technician and I got shot down several times for that promotion. Then one day I expanded my horizons to ask myself, “What the hell am I doing working in a sewage plant anyway?” I left, got a job as a sales professional, doubled, then tripled my salary and life unfolded with new and better choices, not to mention smelling better. If you focus on the horrors of the divorce you are facing, understand that more than half of the population of the world is filled with other women. Divorce is devastating and no words can describe the feeling of having your guts ripped out and set on fire but there is a tomorrow. It will be a tomorrow of your own making if you learn to let go and see a wider array of options for your life. Consider the fact that you are the Best You that has ever been. You are older, hence wiser, today than you ever were, so grab your bootstraps and pull yourself back up. Acknowledge the temporary defeat and look for the next possibility for your life. We all seem to find whatever it is that we are looking for, whether reasons to be bitter or reasons to grow. There is a part of our brains called the Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.) that filters information that we are looking for to become clear to us and tosses away what we are not looking for. The more specific we are in our search the sooner and easier we will find it. Misery does not find people, people find misery. It is just as true with solutions and happiness.

Thirdly, you must know in your deepest sense of self that your future happiness is created within you. There is external happiness that is so temporary that any hint of bad news will cause it to fade. You’re elated that your team just won the championship then the phone rings and you learn a close friend just died. Happiness is gone. Internal contentment, however, is not shakeable, it is not contingent on what is in your house, your driveway or your wallet. You accept that life will throw you some curves and you may suffer a bad case of the wobblies for a while, but your usual and consistent state of being is one of self-confidence, solution-seeking and acceptance that personal growth and development will require these temporary setbacks which we can now perceive as something positive that serves us.

Finally, when you exude this kind of confident spirit in your workplace, in your relationships, and among your friends, the ripple effect will inspire others as an almost subliminal vibration and everything around you tends to move in the direction that you are moving. You can literally start creating your environment.

Sometimes Goliath wins the battle, but remember my friends, the war is yours. Live large, live deliberately.

Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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