Turning a Negative into a Positive

“Unfortunately for some the negatives wind up becoming the blows of defeat rather than the stepping stones they could and should have been…” — Rick Cox

There isn’t anyone over the age of ten that hasn’t had something negative happen to them even if it was only being ridiculed or made fun of by someone at school. Depending on the person’s mental state at the time, this event could leave a lasting negative mark on this child’s life. Few of us ever venture too far down life’s road before something negative happens. As you have heard me say many times before, it’s our response to that which happens that determines the outcome of our tomorrows. I can hear your thoughts even now: how about the times when what happened to me was of my own making? What if what I did caused the negative to happen and this negative has left a black mark on my life? Can it be overcome and if so, how do I overcome it?

Remember, as we head down this road, life is ten percent what happens to us and ninety percent our response. How we respond to what happens will determine how our tomorrows turn out. Again, this is all well and good when what happens to us is not the result of our own doing, but what if, as stated above, that which is happening was caused by our own hand? When what is happening to us is the result of something we did or caused, we usually have a tougher time dealing with or letting go of the event. We seem to carry it around like a rabbit’s foot as if it would provide us some sort of luck. The fact we are unable to let it go and put it behind us can and actually does become a real problem. It is our response to what we did that will make our tomorrows different. The issue is what are we going to do to let this go and move forward? It might be good to note it is difficult to move forward if you allow something to tie you to the past. These kinds of things tie you to the past keeping you from moving forward. They tie you to the past and keep you from being the success you were destined to be.

I am sure, like me, you have had more than a few times in your past where, an action on your part caused an end result, you knew you deserved. Sometimes, as stated above, these events can and do leave black marks on our lives that are not only hard to face, but may be nearly impossible to overcome; that is to say, they are hard to let go of or put behind us. It is only in letting go and moving forward we can enjoy and live a life of normalcy. The fact is, good things do happen to bad people and bad things do happen to good people. And, just to make things more complicated, bad people have done good things and good people have done bad things. It is however, when good people do bad things then improperly respond to what they did that the bad turns to worse taking the good person down with it.

What I want to share with you is how to turn a negative into a positive by properly responding to whatever it is you have done thus allowing you to come out on the other side, a person free of the negativity of the past. You will not be free of the past, but from the negativity of it. Your past is your past, but when you relive the past over and over then you are not responding properly. If a child relived the past over and over, the child would never learn to walk. The child would revert back to crawling because that was what was in the past.

If I mentioned the name Merle Haggard, unless you listened to or knew anything about country music you might not have heard of him. Born in Bakersfield, California in 1937, he spent most of his childhood and teenage life in and out of juvenile detention homes because he was always into or causing trouble. Although he had started singing with Lefty Frizzell, another country music legend, at the age of eighteen, the desire for more money caught up with him. After robbing a tavern at the age of twenty he was sent to San Quentin for three years.

While in prison Haggard ran a gambling and brewing racket from his cell. In solitary confinement however, he met author and death row inmate Caryl Chessman as well as another inmate who eventually escaped nicknamed Rabbit. Rabbit was eventually caught, but shot an officer in the shuffle. He was returned to Quentin for execution. It was the meeting of Chessman and the predicament with Rabbit that inspired Haggard to turn his life around.

Upon his release in 1960 he said it took about four months to get used to being out of penitentiary and that, at times, he actually wanted to return. It was the loneliest feeling he had ever had. He turned his life around getting his high school diploma and eventually, after many years of doing right, was pardoned. Soon thereafter, he was digging ditches and wiring homes with his brother all the while trying to get back into music. Now to date, he has had thirty eight number one hits along with three Grammy’s and twelve Academy of Country Music awards.

There is another negative to positive and most probably know his name: it is Tim Allen; or Tim the Tool Man Taylor, as he was known. He has starred in movies such as The Santa Claus, as well as a variety of others. Although not much is known of his childhood it is a well known fact that Tim Allen Dick, his real name, was arrested on October 2, 1978 for possession of a pound and one half of cocaine. According to Michigan state law he should have spent the rest of his life in prison. What Allen did however, was to turn states evidence as well as turn his life around. This greatly reduced his sentence and out of the five years he was given he only spent two and one half in prison getting out for exceptional behavior.

He went on to become a standup comic on a dare. After doing his “loveable loser with tools” gig for a Goodyear Tire event he honed in his standup act; eventually parlaying it into the hit TV show, Home Improvement. The rest is history. More than an actor and comedian, he has become a well-known and well-respected actor, entertainer, author, commercial spokesperson and product endorser. He has definitely learned to turn a negative into a positive. What if Allen and Haggard had not been able to let go of the past, but held on? Would they have been as successful as they are today? I guarantee you the answer would be NO!

How about you? Surely, there are things you have done for which you are not proud, but if you do not let them go they will keep you from becoming all you were meant to be…the choice is up to you…

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox