Personal Growth: Developing Fighting Spirit

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"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’;s the size of the fight in the dog." ~ General Dwight Eisenhower

I was quite taken by this quote, as you might tell. I’;m not the biggest dog in any fight. Heck, if there were a fight, I’;d be somewhere else. In my earlier days, confidence was a central issue in my life. I was not willing or able to interact and make friends, so I spent most of my childhood alone. It was not until several years later that I found that almost everything we do can be a fight – as long as we are willing to be a part of it.

In school, my fight was with my examinations. I remember after having personally acquired good skills when I was 13, I came in top of the class at 14. But when I was 15, a near flunked out of class with 3 passes out of 8 subjects. That was pretty heavy! I was somewhat devastated and this was not even my final paper! I remember going home and writing on a bunch of flipchart papers, all my goals and words of encouragement and posted them all around my room so that I could see them everyday. The following year, I beat the odds coming in top 4 in my class (I tied with the smartest guy in our class, heh) and went to a school of my choice.

Even then, I was beaten down because my next challenge was leadership. I had literally zilch in leadership experience. While I was in Junior College (17 years old at that time) I was nominated and voted in as President of the Student’;s Council. Unfortunately, we went though quite a tumultuous time. Quite a number of situations left our leadership team disheartened and it came to a point of time where many were kept on quitting. Fortunately, I did have some really good buddies in there and they were supportive enough to give me the reason to keep ‘;fighting’; on.

In 1995, one of my first speaking gigs came on. It was an absolute mess, considering I was partnering another senior trainer and the audience liked him far better than me. When the evaluation sheets came back, I was literally broken. However, I took the pain to read it and figure out what else I had to do and I had never faced such a terrible evaluation ever.

I suppose all these stories illustrate one thing. Sometimes, it’;s not a matter of what you do but the spirit you carry when you take action. We were all mean to experience sadness and joy, failure and success so that when the negative side of experience hits us, we learn to appreciate the positive side and work harder toward it. After all, it’;s not the destination that counts, but rather the effort you put in and the thrill of the fight, is not it!