My 3 year old son has a book we sometimes read about a boy who goes to the zoo with his parents and get’s separated from them. They buy him a huge balloon that picks him up when they hand it to him, and he floats away. Each page details a part of his adventure, such as the balloon that carried him away popping”. Each page ends with either “That’s Bad… No, that’s Good”, or, “That’s Good… No, that’s Bad”. In the end he returns to his parents and the last page says “That’s Good…. No, that’s Great!”.
Most things in life are that way… both good and bad.
Most bad experiences have some good side effects. Sometimes, the bad is so terrible that any good outcome or side effect is tiny and minuscule by comparison and it never even registers. These are not the events I’m talking about.
I’m talking about things like spending thousands of dollars on bad business advice and later realizing that even though you wasted a lot of money and time, you did learn what not to do, and, you discovered contacts that eventually proved priceless. Or, breaking your leg in high school, missing your senior year of sports: in college thinking how interesting the medical process was and then becoming a talented doctor who helps thousands of people.
A lot of people land on this blog by searching for various topics about “internet business”, “online business”, “internet marketing”, “making money online”, etc. A lot of them are quite jaded. They think we’re all a bunch of con artists. Some are! Most are not (update: I think about 50% to 75% of online marketing coaches are con artists – see, I’m jaded now too!). Read Internet Business Ethics 101 – the Eric Graham Rip Off Scam Story!
Even if you do get ripped off, chances are, you’ll come away from the process having learned something. The trick is being open to learning.
If your anger and thirst for revenge takes over, you’ll never learn anything.
I recently had a bad experience purchasing a payment processing application. After installing the product, I realized that it didn’t do what I thought the sales page said. I got very frustrated trying to get support and after a couple of weeks started asking for my money back. It took several attempts to get my money back, but end the end I did get a refund. The owner/creator of the product was very nice and apologized for the delays I’d experienced. I maintained my cool and never told him off or was mean in any way. Was my treatment an exception? I don’t really know, but I suspect that it was more normal that it should be: I found several comments detailing experiences like mine in his forum. Had this been my first product purchase in the internet business marketing area, it may well have been my last: it was that bad! But it wasn’t my first purchase. Therefore I know that most people, like the ones in my recommended products section in the right column are legitimate, create valid products, and stand behind what they sell. As I said above, I’m more leery of coaches than people selling products.
So what did I learn from my recent bad experience? I learned that there’s not a really good solution to what I wanted to do. If I can create a good solution, then I could probably sell it. Is it possible? I don’t think so, or someone would have created a product by now that actually worked. But I will keep researching it from time to time. In addition, as I was researching various areas trying to get this product to do what I wanted it to, I learned some things didn’t know, which I’m sure will come in handy down the road.
One of the best, most valuable skills you can develop is the ability to step back from a bad situation and learn something from it. Sometimes the emotional pain associated to the event is so great that this is impossible, or, perhaps it will take years to happen.
Often we learn more from these bad, painful experiences that all the good ones combined. So look for the good seeds in a bad situation, you’ll never know what they’ll grow into until you find them and cultivate them.
I believe that this is called wisdom.
Until next time,