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Turn Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones

by David DeFord

Things happen.

But we choose our responses to the things that happen.

We can find our own unique ways to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

My good friend, Brenda, discovered in the early eighties that she and her husband were falling short on their budget. After cutting back as much as possible, they still needed an additional $200 per month to meet their needs.

They had decided early in their marriage that she would stay at home to care for their children. But this stumbling block caused them to make an alternate plan.

Brenda needed to find a way to earn the extra $200 at a time when the minimum wage barely exceeded $2.00 per hour.

Rather than go to work at the grocery store, she chose to start a small business. She made up some flyers and hit the pavement—offering to create a disturbance for hire.

Within a week a secretary hired her to disrupt a going away party by posing as a bag lady who supposedly had been a former lover of the honoree. She purchased some appropriately mismatched clothing and crashed the party. She sang, acted rudely, and succeeded in disrupting the party.

In her first month she earned more than the needed money and her new business was born. For several years her business grew.

Brenda was hired by a bride to disrupt her wedding by crying loudly and uncontrollably during the ceremony. Hundreds of unique jobs came her way.

She hired friends to meet the growing demands. Brenda had great fun as she used her creative talents to supplement their income.

Yet, she was able to spend the appropriate time with her boys.

She turned her stumbling block into a stepping stone.

Similarly, I lost a high paying job in a senior management reorganization a few years ago. During my time off I reassessed my career goals and started Ordinary People Can Win. I have never enjoyed work this much in my life.

In your life you will find your path blocked by setbacks and challenges. You can choose martyrdom or triumph—discouragement or gratifying success.

You choose your responses to life’s challenges. You choose your life’s work. You choose your level of income. You choose your level of happiness.

Like my friend Brenda, you have your own unique talents. You can use these gifts to climb over your stumbling blocks.

Don’t settle for less than you can become. Choose your unique life’s niche.

You can climb over these blocks and reach new heights reserved for no one but you.


Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. Foster C. McClellan

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances. Bruce Barton

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. William Jennings Bryan

Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. Lou Holtz

Instead of crying over spilt milk, go milk another cow. Erna Asp

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I've just read "Ordinary People Can Achieve Their Lofty Goals" for the 3rd time in 3 days. The first time, I only got to page 10 before I felt so inspired that I had to stop and finish off some work on some goals I'd let slip. The second time, I just couldn't put the book down. I read and re-read the articles and learnt so much. What an amazing collection. So profound and uplifting. The third time, I decided to cancel everything else and devote a couple of hours to the book and read them all through. It's like a Masterclass in Motivation. My mood lifted so much, I felt so inspired at the end. It's definitely going to be a book I'm going to come back to again and again. Brilliant concept, brilliant execution, brilliant results.
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Eric Garner


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