No. 493
This past week I received one of the most touching letters from a reader that I have received since starting this column almost 10 years ago. It was from a reader in Virginia and it begins, "Dear Sir: I am a 73-year-old man. I have had a heart attack. I am also a diabetic, but that is not my problem. I lost a 19-year-old grandson in a car accident 2 1/2 years ago. I raised him since he was in diapers. This is my problem, I am in depression over him and I cannot seem to cope with losing him. But since I read your article in the Bluefield, W.Va. Daily Telegraph (How to Become a Truly Happy Person) it has helped me. Thank you for the article. I have also ordered your book. Thank You," and he gives his name.
Here is one sad Grandpa, and if my column has helped him cope with his loss, then I say, "To God Be The Glory." It also serves to remind me of my responsibility to all of you who read this column. I try to have fun in writing these articles, but I continually remind myself there are people out there whose heart is breaking for one reason or another. If I can share a word of comfort and even cheer, I am honored to have the opportunity the people at this fine newspaper have given me to do that. You know that I would not be here each week were it not for them. If you like my column, let them know. I'm sure they will appreciate the feedback.
Allow me to go back to my new friend's letter for a moment. In the column he referred to, I talked about how to become a truly happy person. The only way to do this is to forget ourselves and think of others and how we can help them. It's not always easy, but it's a road we must travel if we are going to be happy and fulfilled as a human being. While grieving for the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things for some people to overcome, there are many other areas of life where we lose our enthusiasm and our performance suffers, at least for a while. When this happens we need to make a comeback and this is the essence of what I want to share with you.
Allow me to begin with this somewhat personal question. Do you need to make a comeback? Is there some area of your life, when at one time you experienced superior performance, but you allowed your enthusiasm to wane to the point this activity, job or career is no longer challenging or rewarding? As you know, most professional sports have an award they call "Comeback Player of The Year." There is an old boy from Arkansas who plays golf that won this award back in 2004. Of course I'm talking about John Daley. Big John sure has had his ups and downs but he's likeable, plus the fact he can hit the ball a mile, and everyone pulls for him. A while back I was talking along these lines and a friend told me, "Don't forget, you can't have a comeback if you ain't ever been anywhere."
If we have been superior in something at one time only to see it go downhill, in most cases all we need to do is rekindle the fires of enthusiasm, get back in good physical shape and redouble our efforts. A while back I read something in the book, "Enthusiasm Makes The Difference" written by the king of enthusiasm, the late Norman Vincent Peale. This man inspired millions of Americans through his wonderful little magazine called, "Guideposts.:
The portion I read that certainly applies to what I have been saying, was titled "Seven Steps To A Comeback." As I share them, see if you don't agree there's something here for any person who may be depressed, discouraged or just wants to get back in the groove again.
No. 1. Stop running yourself down. There's a lot of right in you. You have the same capacity you had before. Empty your mind of your failures and mistakes and start respecting yourself. No. 2. Eliminate self-pity. Start thinking of what you have left instead of dwelling on what you have lost. List your assets on a piece of paper. No. 3. Quit thinking of yourself. Think of helping others. Actually go out and find someone who needs the kind of help you can give and give it. You will never have a continuing flow of abundance if your thought is only for yourself. No. 4. Remember Goethe: "He who has a firm will molds the world to himself." Almighty God put a tough thing into human beings called the will. Use it. No. 5. Have a goal and put a timetable on it. No. 6. Stop wasting your mental energy on gripes and post-mortems, and start thinking about what you can do now. No. 7. Last, but not least: Every morning and every night of your life articulate these words: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me."
That's the end of the "Seven Steps To A Comeback," and I believe you will agree there is something here for all of us. If you are hurting because of the loss of someone precious, grieve for a little while and then move on with your life. If your performance is suffering, rekindle the fires of enthusiasm and make a fresh start. You have more than enough power to do that.
(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)