#4 How Do You Deal With Adversity and Develop A Successful Mindset?

If everything in life went absolutely perfectly, we would have a rather dull and mundane life, wouldn’t you say? How many adventures would be possible in a “challenge-free” world? Would it be that great? Would it?

Challenges, challenges, challenges.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “CHALLENGE?”

A burden? A stop sign? A nuisance?

How about a gift?

Everything is perception. If we perceive challenges to be stop signs, burdens, or nuisances, they will be. However, we can just as easily change our thinking about challenges, which can inturn, change our lives. Challenges add color, flavor, experience, understanding, and strength to our lives. We can choose to look at challenges more as teachers, rather than tormentors.

One of the main keys to hitting a high note is to change our perception of risk and challenges, to create inner resilience and bravery to move towards our endeavours.

For example,

When we work out at the gym, we feel an uncomfortable pain in our muscles, but we kind of appreciate the pain. Why? Because we look at that pain as a sign that we are getting stronger. We can see the benefit, so the pain isn’t really a burden.


Your grandma asks you to come over and help her move her furniture, AGAIN.  While you are moving it you feel that exact same burn, yet you find yourself very frustrated with it.

What’s the difference? You might be thinking that although your grandma is very sweet, it is rather annoying that she can’t seem to make up her mind on where she wants her furniture to go, rather than thinking of how you are getting stronger from the uncomfortable burning in your arms.

The truth is, is that suffering is only real when it is unjustified. If you can justify your suffering, all of a sudden it transforms into an opportunity for growth. Any time we are uncomfortable, we are growing.

Metaphorically, even as children when we experience growing pains; they are uncomfortable, but they mean that we are growing. Once we realize and understand this, we can start to look at all of these bad situations as gifts and teachers, as opposed to nuisances.

If we can understand this in each moment, we can then realize that we are on a journey here to learn and grow, not to suffer.

Next time you feel like you are being challenged, try asking yourself some of these questions:

What is this trying to teach me?

The traffic on your way to work in the morning could be a teacher of patience, teaching you that right now is a great time to breathe deeply, spend some time with yourself, and think those deep thoughts you don’t give yourself time to think otherwise.

What (mental or physical) muscles is this exercising?

While immediately it may be exercising my knuckles grip on the steering wheel, it is actually exercising my muscles of compassion and mindfulness; understanding that I am not the only person stuck in traffic.

In what ways am I growing from this?

I am becoming more understanding and mindful of my surroundings and of others, and I am becoming more patient, and learning to use this time wisely, by being calm and spending time with myself, because being mad isn’t going to make the cars move.

We can look at this process as a similar process to composting: turning bad circumstances, “crap” as we will refer to it, into compost… Which will then create rich soil from which we can grow.

The best part is that the more aware we are of our growth, the faster and stronger we will grow. This means that you can decide the rate at which you move forward.

We don’t get very far when we are too afraid and too unwilling to take some risks; it’s that bravery to accept failure, and that bravery to step into the unknown, that creates the resiliency needed to succeed. Once you are comfortable with challenges, you will be more comfortable taking risks.

Because it can be argued that one of the innate traits of Life is about never giving up. It is about never saying die and creating the opportunities that could very well manifest into achieving your goals and aspirations and whatever you envisage as success. It is about being resilient and having the faith to go after your passion and accept the opportunities that come your way no matter what happens. You have to develop a mindset to not only conquer adversity, but to never give up. It means you might have to change your current mindset.

In our pursuit of hitting life’s high notes there will be times that are very challenging, so how do we deal with that challenge and develop a successful mindset?

How do you develop the never say die attitude then? How do you never give up and keep that attitude even through the most difficult times?

The first thing you need to do is to realize that you are going to make mistakes and that is not a bad thing. Mistakes are going to happen and we shouldn’t be afraid of them. That fear of making a mistake can prevent you from ever taking a risk and never taking a risk means you will never be successful. When we make a mistake, we develop the weakness of worrying about making the same mistake again. We feel that we shouldn’t have made the mistake in the first place. To never give up though, you must overcome the fear of making mistakes and feeling guilty for making the mistake. Because the important thing about mistakes is that they result in experience. I believe you need that experience to be successful.

Create the never give up attitude and feed it in your own mind. Feed it so that it becomes stronger and you become stronger as a result. There are many ways you can do this, including repeating mantras to yourself and pushing yourself even when you feel like you should give up, but one simple trick is to just relax. Take three minutes at least and just relax yourself mentally and physically before you continue on. Slowly and calmly, say to yourself that you are not going to give up. Do this for a few minutes and then get back to everything.

 You need to be positive as well. You need to have a positive outlook because then when you make a mistake and things don’t work out, you won’t give up because you will know that something better is going to come for you. You will have that positive outlook to know that something good is coming for you if you just make it through this difficult time. You have to practice this because if you don’t practice this positive attitude, and this positive outlook, it won’t become habit. It takes one month to create a habit, so it is going to take some time for this positive outlook to become second nature for you.

When we look at those who have found success in life, they have done so through the ability to never give up. There was a time when J.K. Rowling could not afford to feed her baby. She was so poor she was living off government assistance and couldn’t even afford a computer. Once she had finished writing the first Harry Potter book she manually typed out the 90,000-word book to send it to publishers. Even then, she received dozens of rejections for her book but she never gave up. Eventually a small London publisher’s CEO took the book home and his eight-year-old daughter fell in love with it. From there, the rest is literary history.

We all love his chicken, but there was a time when Colonel Sanders was not a household name. After he was fired from several jobs, he started cooking chicken at a service station when he was 40 years old in 1930. The fact that this was The Great Depression didn’t help, and he cooked out of his living quarters since there was no restaurant attached. He didn’t give up though. Over the next decade he perfected his recipe and the cooking method to make his friend chicken. In the 1950s, the interstate came through and he lost the road traffic he depended on. He went broke and lost his business. He didn’t give up though and he never said die. Making only $105 off his pension each month, he went to restaurants around the United States offering his secret recipe, asking for one nickel per piece of chicken sold. He lived in his car and constantly drove around, even though he was in his 60s by this point. He was rejected over 1,000 times before someone said yes in 1952 when he was 62. He never gave up. By 1964, he had sold the company to investors for $2 million. By the time he died, the company was in 48 countries and worth $2 billion. Today, it is worth $23 billion and he is an icon of American culture.

That is why you never give up. You never say die.

As many of you know I spent my first decade outside of school as an actor. Talk about having to have a thick skin. As an actor you have to say to yourself that ‘I will keep on turning up for auditions even though I know most of the time I will not be cast’. Many of the world’s best known actors had been in the profession for decades before they came to global prominence. John Geilgud, Alan Rickman, our own Geoffrey Rush and Jacki Weaver. Great examples of just never saying die.

After the initial success of The Three Waiters in Australia, my business partner Mark and I set an office and new teams up in London in 2000. Once we had consolidated things in the UK we made the move to the USA in 2001. Compared to setting up in the UK, the USA is at least 5 times harder. The working visas we have to attain, the sheer size of the country, The State versus Federal taxes versus…a nightmare! The Aussie dollar at the time could only get you 50 US cents and not many people had even heard of ‘The Three Tenors’ who were the pinnacle act we used when describing the impact and imagery of our show.

So It took a long time to get the train out of the station and you have to make a lot of tremendous splashes in the big cities to have any chance of benefiting from a ripple effect as was the case in Sydney and London.

But we put our heads down. London was really starting to pick up and this encouraged us to keep going in the States even though we found it a lot harder. It really was nothing more than pigheaded stubbornness. And just when we had established a squad of around 16 opera singers and we were starting to get a few gigs, Osama Bin Laden entered the scene and everything changed overnight. I flew back to the States a month later, to the day, on a virtually empty 747 with wife and baby andarrived at a pretty scary time. What I found was that most of the gigs we had attained through sheer hard work had been either cancelled or postponed. Understandably, people just didn’t want to be seen to be putting on parties or lavish events. And now of course Americans didn’t want to fly. Oh yes and for good measure we found regular small amounts disappearing from our bank account thanks to our trusted accountant.

It was so tough.  The pressures were enormous. We were haemorrhagingcapital . The event industry was in free fall. It was like America was shutting down. But we refused to give up because of what we had already achieved. We were resilient.

Victor Hugo probably said it best… “People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

We stuck it out and I personally began what became the hardest working period I can remember.

  • Every day I was up early to talk with potential East Coast clients.
  • I was forever getting hold of new databases and sending out hundreds of promo videos.
  • Finding showcase opportunities and constantly flying vast distances to plant seeds.
  • I went to every industry association networking event I could.
  • I was always looking for new ways to get Americans to understand that they had this fantastic product at their fingertips if I could just get them to watch the promo video.
  • I performed at every event I could making sure that the standard of the show was as high as could possibly be and that my performers were turning up on time, looking really good and being totally charming so that the overall experience of having ‘The Three Waiters’ at an event was a thoroughly enjoyable one.

In other words just as we had done in Australia and the UK – establishing, maintaining and nurturing the brand,

By the time Mark arrived to swap places I had been able to take the show from the depths of immediate post 9/11 despair to one which was starting to look like it had real potential again. When I arrived we had barely 8 confirmed gigs for the next 6 months. When I left 6 months later we had already performed 32 and we had plenty more coming. I’m happy to say we never looked back after that. In fact within 18 months the show started to win several US event industry ‘entertainer of the year’ awards which considering the size and scope of the US is no mean feat.

So we’ve all got stories to tell where we’ve experienced first hand the benefit of perseverance in many aspects of our lives. It’s an incredibly important step in mastering peak performance or what we call it in the world of show ‘hitting the high notes’ again and again.

An Australian Event Awards ‘Entertainer of the Year’, a music theatre star and co-founder of the world’s most booked corporate entertainment act ‘The Three Waiters’, Darryl’s keynote presentation ‘Hitting the High Notes’ is a compelling story withwalk-the-talk key take-home messages and is a ‘must see’ for conference attendees worldwide. He is a unique combination of entrepreneur, speaker and showman – a mesmerising blend of business smarts, engaging storytelling and live opera! It is a combination that has made Darryl one of Australia’s most in demand business and resilience speakers, headlining many Top 500 company conferences including the famed ‘Million Dollar Round Table’ in the USA.

For further information email info@darryllovegrove.comor visit www.darryllovegrove.com.