Being upbeat can help a retailer’s vision for the future.
By Jim Callahan
It is said that, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity,” while “an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
I’ve encountered so many intelligent and impactful individuals during my 48-year journey in the convenience store industry and, I am struck by the greatness of many, but concerned for others who have the same or better tools but are held back by events in their lives.
It’s a thought that we are all born with a predisposition toward the way we will see and handle things throughout life—whether we will be upbeat or subject to depression. It’s that proverbial question: when you see a glass of water sitting in front of you do view it as half empty or half full?
These outlooks, of course, are likely influenced by the kinds of childhood events that affected each individual such as nurturing, kindness, love, trauma or the lack thereof.
History tells us that it takes special individuals to rise above their upbringing and early circumstances and, most likely the ones who see that conceptual glass as half empty are going to have a much more difficult time in life than those that see that same glass as half full.
We all have troubles, bad breaks and have gone through varying amounts of trauma, but it’s how we handle and internalize these events that influence and help determine our success in life. My late wife, an award-winning hospice registered nurse, often remarked. “If we all were to throw our troubles into a pile, we would likely all choose to take back and deal with our own.”
Following that old adage of making one’s self smaller and the world larger is a great starting point to viewing your lot in a different light and perhaps using that light to illuminate your way to greater success in life. While it’s difficult, it can be accomplished. And when you think about it, what better choice do we have?
Before you discard this article, consider these nine inspiring people who overcame childhood adversity:
- Actress Ashley Judd: Abused by many men, including a family member, before becoming a movie star. Search out her memoir, “All That Is Bitter and Sweet.”
- Hollywood’s Shia LaBeouf: Grew up in a poverty-stricken family selling hot dogs to survive and accompanying his father to AA meetings.
- Actor/director/producer Tyler Perry: Suffered horrible physical abuse and never felt safe. “Every time they would do something terrible to me I would escape to a park in my mind until it was over,” the Hollywood star once said.
- Scientist Albert Einstein: His slow speech prompted one teacher to dismiss him from school and another told him he wouldn’t amount to anything.
- Academy Award-winning actress and TV network owner Oprah Winfrey: Though she faced abuse as a child, she turned to a “Higher Power” to survive and make it through.
- Movie star Mark Wahlberg: Overcame serious drug addiction as well as being physically violent to become a performing star and model parent.
- Actress Drew Barrymore: Former child star of the movie E.T. struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and as a 13-year-old was enraged and violent, but overcame her struggles.
- Hall of Fame basketball star Allen Iverson: Child of struggling parents often with no lights or proper food, he went on to become the top pick in the NBA Draft.
- Best-selling rap artist Eminem: Was bullied and struggled with violence, both to him and later by him, but became one of the best -selling artists of the 1990s.
No doubt life is tough and not always fair. But, these nine celebrities learned that there is life after hardship and that success is possible.
The convenience store industry offers many challenges. Remember to be inspired and never give up; never give in.
Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on CSDecisions.com. He can be reached at (678)485-4773 or via e-mail at [email protected].