#1671 Do This When Something “Bad” Happens

The Two-Step Process

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been exploring wisdom from another one of Darrin Donnelly’s great sports fables, The Mental Game.

As you may recall, we talked about the importance of TALKING to yourself rather than listening to yourself. Then we discussed the importance of turning up the heat and creating a Heroic self-image.

Today I want to chat about another great idea from that great fable.

Let’s get right to work.

Darrin’s Guide tells the aspiring Hero: “When something bad happens, ask yourself, ‘What’s something good that could come from this? What’s the opportunity in front of me?’”

He continues by saying: “Stuck in the rough? Every player lands in the rough. It’s how you get out of it that counts. How you play the next shot is your opportunity to separate yourself from the competition. Miss a cut? You’ve now got the opportunity to spend a couple extra days recouping and preparing for the next tournament—that’s an opportunity others don’t have. Suffer a panic attack? That’s your body’s way of letting you know something needs to be fixed and you now have the opportunity to find the help you need and end up better off than if you had continued down the path you were on.”

And finally, he says: “It’s a quick two-step process when you encounter a fresh problem. One, recognize how things could be worse and be grateful you are where you are. Two, find the opportunity you now have and focus on that.

I’ll save the spoiler alert but that’s wisdom from one of the final chapters right before our Hero might do some pretty Heroic stuff.

As I read that, I thought of Jocko Willink’s (see Discipline Equals Freedom) response to EVERY “bad” thing that can happen: “GOOD.”

I also thought of how Josh Waitzkin (see The Art of Learning) responds any time he gets injured—as an opportunity to get better.


I thought of the time I took a fall while training for a Spartan Race. I wound up needing 20+ screws to put my left wrist back together.


IMMEDIATELY after I saw my arm was completely shattered, I looked up at the rope climb I had just successfully completed and thanked the Heroic gods I didn’t fall off of *that* as I might have broken my neck and not been alive to consider the alternatives.

Today’s +1…

Spotlight on YOU...

Going through a challenging time?

Of course you are.

You’re a Heroic human being striving to do your best in service to something bigger than yourself.


Embrace the two-step process.

Recognize how things could be worse and be grateful for where you are.

Then get clear on how this challenge is giving you an opportunity to get stronger.

Here’s to optimizing our self-image, talking to ourselves wisely, and controlling our effort and our attitude as we win the mental game and give the world all we’ve got.


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