One of the greatest stressors in life must be the feeling of failure. And that feeling may be heightened if your successes came early in life, only to fizzle out later on.

You’ve heard of child stars whose adult lives didn’t turn out well. What did that lead to? Disappointment. Humiliation. Feelings of worthlessness, mistrust of people, a cynical outlook, depression. A turn to drugs, gambling, alcohol. Like a famous boxer said many years ago, “Life a funny thing.”

If you could define this thing called ‘life’ in one word, what word would you choose? Is life a race? A battle? A struggle? God’s idea of a joke? A great adventure? A fantasy? A chore? Is life a challenge?

One of the world’s great teachers has referred to life as a race, but not a competition. If we see life this way – as a non-competitive race in which the goal is to get to the finish line – we can be motivated to do well by remembering that finishing strong is all that matters.

A key point: it’s not how you start out that makes the difference; it’s how you do along the way that determines whether you finish strong. How do you deal with disappointments? Loss and grief? Pain? Financial setbacks? Natural or man-made disasters? Failures? In short how do you cope when things go against you?

True stories about successful people only feature those who finished strong. They may have failed miserably through their lives – Winston Churchill is a perfect example – but in the end, they rose to great heights and finished strong. And in doing so, their lives inspired others to do as Churchill said in the darkest days of World War 2: “Never, never, never, never, never give in!”

And how do we finish strong? Not easy to say in a short article. But here are some thoughts:

Surround yourself with successful, positive-minded people.
Pace yourself – you can’t win a marathon if start out in a sprint.
Get proper nutrition, exercise and rest.
Never stop learning new things.
Know when it’s important to speed up, and when to take it slowly.
When you choose your career or mission in life, be honest with yourself. Don’t chase fantasies.
Know yourself: especially your strengths and weaknesses.Play to your strengths – if you must, work towards shoring up your weaknesses.
Distinguish between the things you can control and those you cannot.
Train your mind to view a setback as a temporary disappointment – and that it’s not a failure, but a fresh opportunity.
Understand that the only real failure is not trying to achieve anything.
Learn to use your mind in creative and powerful ways to help you stay on track.

This is just a short list of the many strategies we need in order to finish strong. If you’d like to add to it, please e mail or call me at 219 309 3928. Thanks for reading!