Monday, June 07, 2010

Bright Triumphs Fom Dark Hours: Turning Adversity Into Success

I am looking forward to World Innovation Forum (#WIF10) later this week, where I will be blogging live.

I read an interesting book over the weekend called Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity Into Success by David Heenan. It seems I am reading a lot of books about overcoming adversity.

Like the book Comebacks, Bright Triumphs talks about the story of 10 people who overcame adversity:

Joel Klein-New York City school chancellor who overhauled the city's public school system.

Shirley Ann Jackson-The first African American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT

Bill Snyder-revered football coach.

Joanne Boyle-lead University of California's women's basketball team, while surviving a cerebral hemorrhage.

Gary Guller-scaled the world's highest peaks, despite only having one arm.

The Frozen Chosin-These US Marines escaped the deadly fog of war on the frozen Korean peninsula to fight another day.

Sacagawea-lone Indian, lone mother, lone female, lone teenager on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Scott Waddle-Navy commander whose split-second mistake caused the Ehime Maru disaster. Against all odds, this tragedy for which he assumed all responsibility, led him to a new, unlikely career.

Patti Dunn- Former HP chair who fought cancer while trying to restore her professional reputation.

Steve Case-High-tech entrepreneur rebounding from ill-fated AOL Time Warner merger to lead a philanthropic revolution.

The lessons we learn from the book about adversity:

1) Learn from Adversity. Triumphant people know that not everything will work. Do not equate the occasional setback with defeat. Accept adversity, and move on. Like I say "Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap".

2) Fashion a New Dream. Set big goals. Decide where you want to go, and how you will get there. Imagine both your goals, and your pathway to success. Some changes may be beyond your control. Be able to make corrections as you go.

3) Sell Your Vision. Restore people's faith in the future. Do not allow nay-sayers to stop you from achieving your dream.

4) Share Your Dream. Connections are invaluable. Developing a team of alliances that you can turn to in tough times.

5) Focus, Focus, Focus. Know what you are able to do. Find the difference between what is important, and what can wait. Resilient personalities are able to smile in the face of adversity. I found this point particularly interesting since focus is not one one of the things I do well. I tend to jump into everything.

6) Start Now. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Set goals that are specific, and break them down into manageable parts, so that each success builds confidence and momentum.

I do believe we can learn from our mistakes but true wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others.

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