Why Rupert Told Reginald He Should Be Grateful His Life Was Crap

Is your life tough? asks coach Tony Inman

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

“My wife just left me, the house burnt down, my dog’s run off and I just got fired!” said Reginald, a miserable looking mouse of a man, his hair unkempt and his clothes crumpled, dejectedly nursing his beer in the darkest corner of the pub. His life sounded like a Country and Western song.

“Never mind mate. You’ve got to look at the positives and feel grateful for what you still have. A lot of people would love to be in your situation! You’ve just got to be more up tempo.” said his friend, Rupert, a man who had been unable to hold down a regular job, and who actually hated his own life, yet who also happened to be a recently qualified ‘success coach’.

Rupert had read ‘The Secret’ and was eagerly awaiting the definitely imminent arrival of his lotto winnings cheque in the mail. He was also a master of ‘positivity’ and spin. He had even had his social media image photo-shopped to make himself appear like a Hollywood star.

You’ve probably heard coaches like Rupert talking about the power of gratitude before, yet if you’re going through a difficult time when you hear that, it’s easy to understand why you might feel somewhat cynical about the well-intentioned advice. You might even tell Rupert to stick his advice where the sun doesn’t shine!

Now to go back to the example – it’s entirely possible that Reginald (a) had drifted apart from his nagging wife and despised her anyway; (b) never really liked his dimly-lit but fully-insured house; (c) never wanted the dog that had originally belonged to his wife and her former lover; and (d) hated that job and his bullying boss and had only just been offered better employment for higher pay, this very week!

bourbon-on-cereal

Are you feeling somewhat challenged by life’s disappointments?

It’s also possible that none of these positive slants existed and that Reginald has every reason to feel like putting bourbon on his corn flakes every day, just to numb the pain.

We never really know what someone else is going through. We can imagine what it might feel like. We can even sympathise with how we think it would feel if we were them, yet we’re not them. We don’t see the world exactly the same way as them and they may not have the same coping mechanisms as us, nor may they have the same strength of character that we believe we possess.

At the risk of sounding a tad ‘Rupert-esque’, it’s fair to say however, that there is always someone, somewhere, whose situation is a damn sight worse than yours. Nevertheless, if your leg is injured and it’s giving you a lot of pain, you can be told that another man’s leg was amputated or that yet another’s was badly burned and you can understand the difference between their plight and your own. You can even accept on a logical level that you should probably feel ‘lucky’. Yet despite this knowledge, it doesn’t stop the fact that your leg still hurts.

Now this is the point in my article where I ask you to indulge me for a moment. You can call me a ‘Rupertian disciple’ if you like, but just for a moment, consider this…

My delightful coach, who is absolutely beautiful both on the inside and the outside, is also a very smart lady. (Yes, even coaches have coaches! We know the value of it more than most.) A while ago, she told me to start a new habit that would have a very positive impact on my life. My coach advised me to get an empty jar and label it my jar of ‘gratitude and happiness’. She instructed me to develop the new habit of writing down each day on little slips of paper at least one, and preferably three, of the things in my life for which I could feel grateful or about which I could feel happy.

My Gratitude Jar

My Gratitude Jar

Knowing that my coach is a smart cookie, and with me being, at least most of the time, an ‘action-taker’, I did it. Now I can openly admit that I wasn’t disciplined enough to remember to do it every day, but whenever I did miss a day, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just wrote something extra the next day. For example, I wrote things like, “I’m incredibly grateful for having a wonderful girlfriend” or “I’m so blessed to have such amazing children”. It could even be random things like, “It made me happy to give that shop assistant a compliment and to see by her smile that it had made her day.” I even wrote good things down on my crappiest of days. I even smiled at the irony of it sometimes, because yes, it’s true – even a ‘change catalyst’ like me has bad days too!

At the end of the year, I opened the jar and read all my little messages. All I could say was “Wow!” The impact was huge. Not only that, but my girlfriend said she would make it her goal to give me good reason to write even more sweet little messages about her, during the next year, which she actually did.

So, if you think you’re just feeling a bit down or that life’s not so special, give this a try – I promise you it works. If your life is really as bad as Reginald’s in my little story above, then maybe you do need to talk things through with an experienced coach, or a counsellor or a psychologist even. Sometimes life does hand us really tough challenges, it’s true, and sometimes you do need some external help to get you through it. If that’s the case, then let me encourage you to seek help without delay from the appropriate professional. (I fit the first of those descriptions, so feel free to contact me if you’re feeling stuck, or over-whelmed, or you just know that you could really benefit from having a professional sounding-board.)

I’ll finish though with this thought. Actually, it’s more than a thought, it’s commonly accepted as a proven fact by those who have successfully conquered many challenges in their lives… (and I can vouch for it myself).

“When you focus on the things in your life for which you can feel grateful and happy, you will automatically empower yourself to be better, to do more and to have better outcomes.”

~ Tony Inman, ‘The Change Catalyst’

If you don’t believe me, just try it for one month. I now write mine in a journal and that’s another topic for another day, but do whichever works for you. Do please let me know how you go and do remember to have an awesome month, filled with gratitude and happiness.

Do You Suffer from ‘If-only-itis?’

Do you ever ask yourself 'If only I'd..."At any dinner table, at any barbecue in Australia, or in any bar conversation, have you ever heard these words come out of your mouth? – “If only I’d…”

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, pretty much most of us have uttered these words in frustration at some point. We’ve all had that business idea we were going to start, that bargain property we should have bought, that person we ought to have spoken to; the list of ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’s’ is endless.

Equally, we may have the other list: the idea we shouldn’t have followed through with, the car we should never have bought, the moron we wish we had never dated. Our list of perceived ‘failures’ may equal or even exceed our list of perceived ‘successes’.

I use the word ‘perceived’ because it’s my belief that we are in a world of constant change, both external and internal. That which you perceive as a disaster today may just turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you! You may be fired from a great job today – ‘a disaster’, only to be offered a better one tomorrow. Suddenly the firing was no longer a ‘disaster’ but a life-changing opportunity. It’s all in how we choose to look at it and how new information and ideas can change our perception.

This may make sense to you intellectually, but then you might say to me, “Well, what about my Father passing away or my wife leaving me?” When you are emotionally distraught, it’s pretty hard to swallow the concept that this may yet turn out to be a good thing in terms of your personal growth as a human being. I understand completely and I’m not in any way belittling or demeaning the grief or pain that someone may be going through. I’ve been through enough myself to ‘get’ that.

What I am saying though is that we always have choices.

I didn’t choose for my wife to leave me, though in the end it was a relief for both of us. I didn’t choose for my father to die, though in the end I felt it was a relief that his suffering from illness was ended. I was devastated for a while and that’s normal. There is a time and a place for processing your stages of shock, denial, hurt, anger and eventual acceptance. That’s all part of being human. The key point there is that some things are beyond our control, like our mortality and that of our loved ones. That’s when and why we have to dig deep inside ourselves and remind us of who we are and of the incredible potential that each one of us has.

Each one of us is a miracle – just by the very fact of our existence. I’m not addressing religion here, just the nature of life itself. We all have an opportunity to choose, perhaps not everything that happens ‘TO’ us, but definitely ‘HOW WE RESPOND’ to what happens to us. Funerals, though they are about grief and loss, have evolved to remind us of the joy we can give each other – they have transformed into a celebration of the life of a human being and the way in which they touched the lives around them. That is a source of great comfort that helps ease the pain of loss.

We alone can choose how to respond

We alone can choose how to respond

We can either allow ourselves to be crushed by external events or we can choose to respond internally and bounce back, set a new course, learn from our experiences and create change.

There are enough examples all around us of people who have seemingly lost everything that they cared about, yet they bounced back. Why?

Perhaps it’s because they accepted that what happened, happened and instead of being stuck with the affliction or disease of ‘If-only-itis’, they chose their own response. They chose change. They chose life.

Nelson Mandela chose to forgive his captors after ‘losing’ 26 years of his life in prison with his crusade to transform a nation. Gandhi chose to fight occupation and perceived injustice with passive protest to transform a nation. Muhammad Ali gave up a world championship title, won in a ‘controlled’ violent sport, to oppose conscription to fight a bloody war against people with whom he had no personal conflict. With that decision he gave up everything he had fought for to stand for something greater – for his core values of peace and harmony in the world.

You CAN create your own ripple of change

You CAN create your own ripple of change

Your battles may be less dramatic or may seem way less significant to the universe. You may justify maintaining your status quo by saying that those people were exceptional. Yet, they were just people. Had they stayed ‘stuck’ and muttered ‘If only…’ we would probably not have noticed them. You may not believe it now, but you may be Just like them and your personal choices just might have a ripple effect beyond anything you have yet imagined.

If you know someone who is suffering from that dreaded curse of wallowing in ‘If-only-itis’, maybe you can help. Perhaps you can give them a call, possibly invite them somewhere that might encourage them, or simply be kind in whatever way you can.

If you are stuck, whether in your business or in your life, feel free to contact me for a chat, using the website form or by calling (08) 9328 2203.

There are always strategies you can develop and choices you can make. The world is changing constantly, with you or without you. Every setback, every challenge, every disaster, is at the same moment an opportunity to change, to cope and grow stronger, to evolve as a human being, perhaps to change other lives. You might not see that right now if you are stuck, looking at ‘If only…’

Change the thinking, change the words you say to yourself and ask yourself different questions. “Why, how and in what way could this ‘if only’ lead to something useful? How could this event turn out to help me grow and move forwards?” Remember that a choice to do nothing is still a choice.

Mother Nature does not allow a vacuum to occur. When one ‘thing’ is taken away, ‘something else’ will take its place. What the ‘something else’ is however, is up to you. You can repeat an old pattern that was familiar and comfortable, but kept you stuck, or you can shed that skin and grow a new and better version of ‘YOU’.

“Tony has been a fantastic sounding board…” – Juan Rando, Perth

Juan Rando, Owner - Juan Rando Dance Academy

Juan Rando, Owner – Juan Rando Dance Academy

“Although I have a successful business, I felt overwhelmed when my partnership broke up.

Tony has been a fantastic sounding board and has helped me rebuild my focus, enthusiasm, vision and profitability.”

Juan Rando, – Owner, Juan Rando Dance Academy

 

Juan operates Perth’s premier dance academy in Subiaco, Western Australia.

If you have been thinking about learning to dance JRDA caters for all levels, from those wishing to simply have fun, meet people and improve their fitness (and their sex life!) right through to aspiring professional dancers and instructors.

Check out his website at: http://www.jrda.com.au/

 

JRDA provides classes in various styles too:

“My Business Had Fallen Apart & My Private Life Was In Tatters…” – Kel Shipton, Perth WA

Kel Shipton

Kel Shipton – Owner of The Happy Herb Shop, Midland WA

‘I came across Tony just after January this year when my business had fallen apart and my private life was in tatters.

Fortunately, another friend put me in touch with Tony and it proved to be a Godsend.

He’s inspirational and the foresight that the guy gave me enabled me to push through what I was doing.

The fact that I’d got somebody there that has been through it all, that had walked the same path made a big difference and actually gave me the confidence to be able to push on, which I’ve done!

So thank you Tony.

Thanks for all your help and I’ll be dealing with you again one day in the future.

Cheers mate!’

Kel Shipton

Franchisee – The Happy Herb Shop, Midland