While once touted as 'America's Pastime', baseball is now a sport with fans around the world. The recent World Series win for the Chicago Cubs is a lesson in perseverance. Long-time fans were overjoyed to see their team finally win big. You probably do not face the same types of obstacles as the Chicago Cubs did in their 108-year drought. But everyone has roadblocks in their personal and professional lives.

You can let these situations bring you down emotionally, mentally and physically, or you can learn something about the situation and yourself.  

When You Could Go Either Way

Have you ever been in the position where you were passed over for a promotion, or perhaps you did not land the big deal? You probably felt very disappointed. You may have felt sad, angry, and upset with yourself. Did you learn from the situation? Or did you give in to your emotions and react bitterly?

When you face a tough moment at work, try not to give in to your feelings. Try to learn from that moment. Read why a proposal was rejected, and keep these notes in mind for next time. If you didn't get the promotion, ask why and how you could enhance your work performance. 

Use these times of difficulty to look into yourself. Ask yourself honestly if you could have done a better job. And realise that sometimes, no matter how hard you worked or how perfectly qualified you are, you may not get the deal or promotion. Your response after these unexpected moments can define who you are as a person. Do you sink into despair, or do you learn and adapt?

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

Chinese proverb

Exercising Your Brain

We can train our minds to respond better during stressful or disappointing times. Research has shown that like our bodies, our minds can be exercised and trained. When playing a sport such as baseball, our brains require parallel processing across domains. To train these parts of the brain, researchers have broken down the tasks or domains. Motivation is a critical component of learning, however, and learning is most efficient when motivation is high (Green, 2008). 

Athletes must train their minds as well as their bodies. You must also do the same at work. You can learn from past mistakes and how to process and deal with obstacles in your life. 

Learning from the Obstacles in Our Lives

Imagine if the Cubs had simply given up. If the fans didn't attend events and the players didn't have the desire or motivation to play. Instead, the Cubs and their fans persevered, working through extremely difficult times to finally prevail. This is the quality of drive in action. This capacity can get us where we want to be and give us the persistence to bring our ideas and innovations to fruition.

You may not be a Cubs fan or even a fan of baseball. But you will certainly face difficulties in your life. You have the power to either break and give up or bend and learn from those trying times. 

Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2008). Exercising Your Brain: A Review of Human Brain Plasticity and Training-Induced Learning. Psychology and Aging, 23(4), 692–701. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0014345 

Originally posted on: 6 June 2017
Last updated on: 25 May 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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