Excerpts

Sample excerpts from Staying Off the Wheel of Misfortune:

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Table of Contents

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………

Chapter 1. Keep Your Perspective. To choose the best action to take, you
need to have an accurate perception of what’s going on…………………… 1

Chapter 2. Keep Growing. Learn to avoid the mindset that says you
can’t go beyond your existing talents or skills……………………………………. 20

Chapter 3. Hold Onto Your Personal Power. Don’t take on the role
of victim…………………………………………………………………………  48

Chapter 4. Communicate Clearly. Pay attention to what the other
person is hearing, not just what you’re saying………………………………  69

Chapter 5. Focus on the Right Thing. Instead of resisting what you
don’t like, put your energy into creating what you’d like to have………..  85

Chapter 6. Take Advantage of All of Your Mind’s Resources.
Don’t rely solely on one type of thinking…………………………………… 100

Chapter 7. Maintain Healthy Relationships by Avoiding Emotional
Crises. Learn to express your emotions constructively, so they don’t
backlog into destructive emotional “stacks”……….…………………….… 142

Chapter 8. Always Try To Understand the Reasons For Behavior.
Understanding the reasons for behavior  makes it far easier to
get what you need from other people – and from yourself………..…….  164

Chapter 9. Let Go of Certainty. Remain flexible: Assume that
everything you have accepted as a “fact” –  scientific, religious, or
otherwise – is at least partly wrong. And keep asking questions……….. 189

Chapter 10. Create the Future You Want. Avoid being trapped by
your feelings about the past or future. Instead, use the power you
have in the present to begin achieving your goals.….……………………. 217

Afterword……………………………………………….……………………. .257

Bibiography ………………………………………………………………….. 261

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Introduction

“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune.”
— Napoleon Hill

“Knowledge is that possession which no misfortune can destroy, no authority can revoke, and no enemy can control. This makes knowledge the greatest of all freedoms.”
— Bryant H. McGill

The idea of a “wheel of fortune” has been around since ancient times. It usually symbolizes the belief that events occur randomly – as if determined by the spinning of a wheel. In many cultural references, the wheel has been spun by a mythical blindfolded woman, such as the goddess Fortuna, sometimes portrayed as standing on top of an ever-rolling stone. The blindfold, of course, is meant to emphasize that the lady spinning the wheel can’t influence the outcome of each spin.

Historically, the wheel of fortune has been mentioned when something unpleasant has befallen someone, as opposed to when great good fortune occurs. That may be because there’s a lot less hand-wringing when something good happens; in that situation, most of us are content to conclude that we deserved our good fortune and leave it at that. On the other hand, when something bad happens, the wheel of fortune provides a more palatable way to explain it. Several characters in Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet and King Lear, make comments about the fickle nature of Fortune and her wheel – almost always when someone has suffered an unjust turn of fate.

Of course, all of us have experienced such “turns of fate,” when something happens that seems totally unfair and we find ourselves dealing with circumstances we would have preferred to avoid. But if we’re going to blame this on a random spin of a fateful wheel, I think the wheel might more accurately be thought of as a wheel of misfortune.

It’s true that when negative circumstances befall us they often seem to arise for reasons beyond our control. Whether or not that’s true is a matter for debate, but either way, when something bad happens it can really set us back. We may suddenly lose something we thought we couldn’t live without. Our long-term plans may suddenly become irrelevant. We may find ourselves forced to do without everyday comforts and resources that we’ve become accustomed to. The “rules of the game” that we’re expected to live by may suddenly change.

Furthermore, when we find ourselves riding the wheel of misfortune, the stakes can be high and our decisions may have much more significant consequences. When money is tight, for example, one false move can leave you penniless. Accurate communication also matters more; when there’s little room for error, being misunderstood can lead to disaster. Likewise, maintaining good relationships matters more when times are hard because you need all the friends and support you can get.

There are three key premises that underlie the ideas you’ll find in this book:

1) The events we experience are not really random, as if determined by the spinning of a wheel. On the contrary, it’s within our power to avoid many of the problems that can befall us.

2) The way we perceive and react to the difficulties we sometimes face makes all the difference in the way things finally turn out. Do we see the new circumstances as a disaster, or a challenge? Do we decide to change course, or do we fight to maintain our current direction?

3) When bad things do happen, it’s within our power to create something positive from those circumstances, no matter how challenging they are.

In order to create the life we’d like to have, avoid unnecessary problems, and see the problems we can’t avoid in a useful way – no matter how tough our current situation may be – we have to use effective strategies. That’s where this book can help. In the 10 chapters that follow, you’ll find a host of these strategies. Then, at the end of the book, I’ll sum up the key points from each chapter and add a few final thoughts about how these ideas can help each of us stay off the wheel of misfortune.

For what it’s worth, I make no claim to be offering the final word on any of the subjects we’ll be discussing. What I do claim is that these ideas have made a huge difference in many lives, including mine, and hold the potential to do the same for you.

Here’s hoping that the ideas and strategies you find here will help you stay off the wheel of misfortune and create the life you really want to be living.

—Christopher Kent, May 2013

PS: This book is half of the book & CD set Help and Hope. If you’ve heard the title song from the CD, Piece of the Puzzle, (and/or seen the music video), you know that I’m fond of quoting the wisdom and insights other people have shared through their comments and observations. In that same spirit, I’ve placed a few of my favorite quotes at the beginning of each chapter in this book, and sprinkled additional ones throughout the chapters where appropriate. The quotes help to capture the spirit of each chapter – more pieces of the puzzle, as it were. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

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