A crisis is a true test of character, my dad used to say. And given how several people find themselves in a crisis these days, it is useful to remember some basic lessons in surviving, and actually thriving in troubled times. Ups and downs are a part of business and of life but how you tackle the downtimes and low holds the key to the highs that might occur later in life.
A business you started could run into trouble. Or you could find yourself laid off. It happens. You may find yourself burdened with emotional upheaval. Or a health problem that lays you low. In such situations, it is important to ensure that you don't get petrified into inaction like a deer caught in a car's headlights. You must keep moving, keep trying, keep fighting. I am not saying just merely fighting hard in what looks like a hopeless situation would guarantee success. But remember, not trying and simply giving up- will only guarantee failure.
The greatest Olympian of all time would be Michael Phelps. He has won more Gold medals than some countries and the following story would teach you how he handled his downtime which paved way for his success.
Few months before 2008 Olympics, Michael Phelps was involved in an unfortunate accident that seriously jeopardized his Olympics dreams. In October 2007, as Michael was getting into a friend's car in Michigan, he slipped on a patch of ice and fell, breaking his wrist. Michael is known for his swimming abilities but he was a lousy walker. Well, if he was worried more about his walking, he wouldn't have been a great swimmer. Rather, he chose to focus on what comes naturally-swimming. Anyways, cracked wrist meant plaster and it was a big blow to his Olympics preparation. He could not swim for the next few weeks. He was shattered.
Michael was disillusioned but quickly picked himself up and was back in the pool. With his plastered arm, he couldn't swim but he could lie in the pool, kicking with a kickboard while his Olympics teammates were doing doing laps. He just splashed and kicked away furiously. While that was no substitute for swimming, it had one advantage. He added incredible strength to his leg muscles.
Fast forward to Aug 16 2008, in Beijing. Having won six Golds, Michael Phelps was on track on the eight Gold dream. Just two races to complete. In the seventh event, 100 meter butterfly stroke event, Michael was neck to neck with Milorad Cavic. He won by the narrowest of margins, picking up his seventh Gold by edging out Milorad by a mere hundredth of a second. That's right-it was 100th of a second. As expert watched slow-motion replays, they found out that in the last 5 metres of the race, while an exhausted Milorad dragged his legs, Michael used a strong kick to get his hands to the wall first, going head by that hundredth of a second. The strong final kick made all the difference!
Napolean Hill says, "Every adversity , every failure, carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit."
Let us all remember that and be thankful for adversities to create yet another opportunity to start intelligently again.