We all have certain dates on the calendar that are just fixed in our memories, our birthdays, major holidays, etc. And then there are the “random ones.”

April 30 is one such random day for me. No, not because it’s income tax deadline (by the way, did you get yours in?), nor because that is my company’s financial year-end. April 30 is seared into my memory because it marks the anniversary of the day I broke my neck, five years ago.

I was fortunate. The break was just a hairline crack of my C-2 vertebra, and it was not displaced. Eight weeks of wearing a neck brace, and I was declared healed.

I was recounting this with a friend Friday night, and we had to marvel yet again at the fine line (or should I say, hairline crack) between being OK and being a quadriplegic–or dead! Apparently, I’d put out my hand to protect me in the fall—not that I remember, the broken wrist acting as supporting evidence.

Turns out the broken wrist took longer to heal than the neck. And when the cast came off, I had severe carpal-tunnel syndrome. The specialist wanted to do surgery on that. I said NO. With the support of my family doctor, I went to the chiropractor instead, and many months later the carpal-tunnel was 95% cured.

The 5% carpal tunnel that remains, reminds me from time to time how close I came to death, and how thankful I should be for life. It also reminds me that, at my age, I shouldn’t be framing houses anymore, and that I need to be careful whenever I’m at heights.

That’s what negative experiences can do for a person. Instead of wallowing in regret, one can turn them into a positive influence, to reshape one’s life’s experiences and motivate one to do better, or to do something different.

Someone else finished that roof.

A broken neck was one impetus motivating me to transition into an enterprise that helps frustrated renters get into home ownership. Now, I’m so glad to be in a different venture; I have little desire to continue those house-building activities (though I still do some of that).

In this endeavor, too, not everything is always 100% positive. So, I have to ask myself: how do I use setbacks to help me do things differently, and hopefully better? Do I see setbacks as road-blocks or as opportunities? I like to think that I see them as opportunities, make the needed adjustments, and do better.

At professional development conferences I attend, we’re repeatedly encouraged not to ask, “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?” In other words, when I face a barrier, do I bail, or do I overcome it?

Flicking through channels Sunday, I happened upon a TV preacher hammering home the same theme. Unlike his compatriots, David faced his Goliath head-on, used what he had, and overcame. That “overcomers” perspective turned his life around, and he ended up King of Israel.

It’s a great perspective to have, in business and in life, to motivate us to do things better or differently. And, ultimately, to be more successful.

Rent 2 Own tip
Rent 2 own is especially appealing to people with pets because it is hard for them to find rental units that allow their pets, especially if they are larger dogs. We welcome them, because we expect our homes to end up being owned by our rent 2 own clients—that’s why they’re in the program, after all—so they will treat the home with respect. Regardless, they will be getting the home at the end in whatever condition they left it in when the rental part of the contract ended, because these two times concur. Qualifying for rent 2 own as a pet owner does not differ from that of a non-pet owner.

Quote of the Week:

The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety. – Johann von Goethe