Are You A Shark Or A Goldfish?

By Jon Gordon|10-04-2015 | 1 Min Read

If you are facing a challenge and are anxious about your situation, I know how you feel. I lost my job in 2001 during the dot-com bust. The company was losing money faster than we could raise it and eventually the company sank faster than the Titanic.

I thought it was the worst event of my life. I was two months away from being bankrupt. I had a wife, two young children, a mortgage, no health insurance, and very little savings and was a paycheck away from losing it all.

It sounds bad. It felt bad. At the time it was bad.

But one day I decided that I wasn’t going to let this challenge take me down. And that’s when I knew I had to change what I was thinking and doing.

I read a few books including Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which helped me make some important decisions through the change. Eventually, these decisions would lead me to the work I do now as a writer, consultant, and speaker.

Blessing in disguise

My layoff led me to my life’s mission and purpose. What I thought was the worst event in my life actually led to the best and I’m not alone in this experience.

Gallup conducted a study and asked people to identify the worst and best event of their life. They found that there was an 80% correlation between the two events.

There was also a British study of 500 “charmed” people. They seemed to have it all; wealth, success, great relationships, etc. The researchers were surprised to discover that every one of these “charmed” people had bad things happen to them in the past.

They all experienced challenges and adversity. However, every one of them turned the bad into good and their misfortune into fortune.

Waves of change

The truth is that challenges and change are a part of life. The waves of change are always coming our way. But when the wave hits, we have a choice – we can embrace it and ride it to a successful future or resist it and get crushed by the wave.

Embracing our waves of challenge and change is all about how we perceive and respond to the events we face. In The Shark and the Goldfish, I share the positive success formula.

E + P = O
We can’t always control the Events (E) in our life but we can control our Positive (P) response to these events and this often determines the Outcome (O).

When the change hits, instead of focusing on the challenge, we can choose to look for the opportunity. We can ask what this event is teaching us and identify how we can grow stronger and wiser from it. We can live in fear or move forward with faith and take positive action.

Shark vs goldfish

We can decide to be a shark instead of a goldfish.

Goldfish become paralysed by fear. They stay in their comfort zone and wait for someone to feed them.

On the other hand, sharks (nice ones!) move forward with faith and take action. They trust that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.

Instead of waiting to be fed, they venture out into the ocean of possibility in search of food. Their beliefs and actions create a self-fulfilling prophecy; because when they expect to find food and take action to find it, they do.

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Jon Gordon is the author of numerous books including The Energy Bus, The Carpenter and The Seed.
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