The same reason why some people fail is what motivates others to succeed. The same circumstance that most people use as an excuse for their misfortune is the reason why others excel. Epictetus was correct when he asserted, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” It all depends on how you see and respond to it.
Once upon a time, there was an alcoholic father with two sons. These boys were raised under the same circumstance with the same treatment. One followed his father’s footsteps and end up struggling through as a drunkard. The other became a successful business mogul.
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One day, in a separate interview, both of them were asked “Why are you the way you are?” Their answers were the same, “Well, it is because my father was an alcoholic.” The same upbringing, the same circumstance but different response and result.
“Can you please explain?” the interviewer asked. “Well,” the alcoholic brother answered, “What choice do I have? My daddy was an alcoholic. I had no choice than to follow his footsteps”.
“Well,” the successful brother answered, “I hated my father’s lifestyle. I was motivated to do everything humanly possible to avoid ending like him.”
“What happens to us is an objective reality, how we respond is a subjective choice.”
The lesson is simple: We cannot always choose what happens to us or around us, but we can choose how we respond. We cannot control the circumstances, but we have total and complete control over our reaction. And the good news is that it is our response not the circumstance that determines the result.