The Secret Of How To
Turn A Setback Into Triumph
In Marketing Or In Life
July 25, 2005
Pauline and I were married young, in our teens, and two
years later had our only child, Laura.
My life changed forever when I met the doctor in the hospital
waiting room, when he came out to tell me the good news: "You're
the father of a beautiful baby girl."
Strangely, there was no joy in his face, so I asked, "How
are mom and baby doing?"
He replied hesitantly, "Well, Pauline is fine."
Then he looked down with a pained expression, and I instantly
knew my world was changing.
As we later learned, after lots of doctor visits and diagnoses,
our Laura was born with mental retardation and other medical problems.
Yet the story of our little family is not a tragedy, not by
a long shot, due to the always mixed nature of life and the
principle mentioned above. As it would take Pauline and me painful
years to appreciate, it's not what happens to you that determines
your happiness and success in life, but how you respond.
After all, you can't always control what happens to you. But
you can always control how you respond, especially if you remember:
Every adversity carries within it the seed of an equal or greater
You might ask, "What possible benefit could arise from your
daughter being born with mental retardation? Or from a war, for
that matter? Or a plague? Or an earthquake?"
Let me speak only from my own experience.
Our daughter, despite her disabilities, quickly became and
remains the light of our lives.
What she lacks in brains she makes up in heart.
She has taught us more about how to love and care for others
than any religious sermon, Indian guru, new age course or book
She has brought into our lives a caring and dedicated
network of teachers and friends we would have never met otherwise.
She has opened our hearts and turned us into benefactors
for children's causes.
She has taught us how to be brave. Can you imagine the
bravery it takes to look different, attract attention just
by walking down the street or through a mall, speak unintelligibly
to most people's ears, encounter so much frustration in attempting
simple tasks like tying a shoe or buttoning a blouse, never
fit in with the social activities of your peers while growing
up, not belong in their classes at school, not understand the
jokes everyone laughs at and, at times, be laughed at yourself
by ignorant people or other children who see only what's different
about you and not what's human and tender?
Can you imagine the bravery it takes to experience all
that ... yet still go through life with a smile on your face,
acceptance in your heart and a bubbly spirit of joy for those
who share your life?
That's just the beginning of what Laura has taught us.
--- Copyright © 2004 Gary Bencivenga
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