When the wave of change hits—and it always has and always will—you can choose to cower down and let it crush you, or you can embrace the new circumstances, learn from them, and ride the wave to a more positive future.
My book The Shark and the Goldfish tells the story of a pampered goldfish named Gordy who accidentally gets swept into the ocean. Not used to fending for himself, Gordy gives in to his exhaustion, hunger, and fear. Luckily, he is rescued by Sammy the shark (who realizes that his negatively stereotyped species could use some positive publicity!). Sammy takes Gordy under his fin, shows him how to proactively find food, and teaches him the ultimate lesson: that the difference between a full belly and an empty stomach depends solely upon your faith, beliefs, and actions.The differ betwn a full belly & empty stomach depends solely on ur faith, beliefs, and… Click To Tweet
Just like Gordy, many of us have to change the way we think and act in order to survive and thrive when life isn’t going our way. My layoff years ago actually led me to my life’s purpose and mission. Now I’m a writer, speaker, and consultant. What I thought was the worst thing to ever happen to me, was actually the best. I realized that we don’t always choose the course we want to follow—it chooses us. Success is all about how you perceive and respond to the changes you are facing.We don’t always choose the course we want to follow—it chooses us Click To Tweet
If you could use a spoonful of my enthusiasm, ask yourself: Am I a shark or a goldfish? Do I wait to be fed, or do I take it upon myself to find food? If you’d like to become a stronger swimmer, read on for some strategies that will help you thrive during tough times—and beyond. After all, it’s your choice!
1 – Decide where you want to swim, rather than being swept along by the current.
You’re not at the mercy of the tides—you can decide where you want to go, and it all depends on your attitude. The key is approaching life with a positive outlook, which allows you to look for opportunity in the midst of challenge. Always maintain a high internal locus of control—in other words, believe that events are sparked by your own actions and behavior, not someone else’s. With this type of attitude, you’ll be more proactive and more successful!Decide where you want to swim, rather than being swept along by the current. Click To Tweet
2 – Rejoice as the day’s debris are washed away.
At one point or another, you’ve probably wished for the chance to start over. Good news: That’s exactly the opportunity with which change presents you! It’s all a matter of perspective. When the waves of change wash away pieces of your old life, you get a fresh start and the opportunity to decide what you really want. When faced with adversity, ask yourself:
- What can I learn from this experience?
- How can I grow wiser, stronger, and better because of it?
- What opportunities does it present?
- What do I want?
- What positive actions do I need to take?
3 – Don’t let negativity sink you.
Embracing change with a positive perspective is only part of the equation. You must also hold on to optimism even when you’re surrounded by the “chorus of negativity”—the people who remind you of the lack of jobs, lack of opportunity, and lack of hope. They’re so focused on what’s impossible that they can’t see what’s possible. They might even go so far as to tell you personally, that you’re not good enough, strong enough, or smart enough. That’s why having a strong locus of control is so important.Having a strong locus of control is so important. Click To Tweet
4 – When the waves get rough, choose faith instead of fear.
What do faith and fear have in common (besides the letter “f”)? They share a future that hasn’t happened yet. And the main thing that separates them is hope, or a lack thereof. Faith believes in a positive future, while fear believes in a negative future. Think about it. The rest of your life hasn’t happened yet. Why not choose to believe that good things are coming your way?Faith and fear share a future that hasn’t happened yet. Click To Tweet Faith believes in a positive future, while fear believes in a negative future. Click To Tweet
5 – Choose to see the ocean as a place of abundance.
The world is full of challenges and misfortunes. Despite it all, you need to realize there’s a big ocean out there. The world is a vast place filled with energy, vitality, resources, and opportunity. Choose to focus on those things and seek them out. You might need to move, or you might need to innovate and find a better way to build your business. Yes, the process may be harder than it was during the prosperous times, but it is possible to build a life that fulfills you, even now.The world is a vast place filled with energy, vitality, resources, and opportunity. Click To Tweet
6 – Swim harder and farther every day.
If you do just enough to get by, that’s all you’ll do—get by. Only those who work hard are able to successfully ride the waves of change. While goldfish survive, sharks thrive. And it’s because they swim powerfully through the ocean all day—they don’t paddle around in a fishbowl. Very few people achieve success without effort and focus. Remember, there’s no substitute for hard work. Not talent, not intelligence, and not privilege.Only those who work hard are able to successfully ride the waves of change. Click To Tweet
7 – Don’t settle for a fishbowl when there’s a whole sea waiting for you!
Instead of swimming around aimlessly with the other goldfish, identify what you want, where you can find it—and then get better at finding it! Average is just that—average. So don’t settle. Every day, you can learn, grow, and improve. The question, What did you learn today? isn’t just for schoolchildren. Consciously think about what the answer might be each night. Every day you choose to work hard is a day that leads to the life you want.Average is just that—average. So don’t settle. Click To Tweet Every day you choose to work hard is a day that leads to the life you want. Click To Tweet
Our world teems with goldfish who are waiting to be fed. When food is scarcer, fear and uncertainty are more plentiful. You don’t have to live with them, though. Put yourself through shark school and proactively transform adversity into a wave of prosperity. And as you swim closer to your goals, remember to always stay humble and hungry—humble enough to learn every day, and hungry with a passion to live up to your potential.
It’s a big ocean out there…so go swim and thrive in it!
Jon Gordon is a consultant, keynote speaker, and the international bestselling author of The Energy Bus, The No Complaining Rule, and Training Camp. He and his books have been featured on CNN, on NBC’s Today show, and in other leading media such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.