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When hard things happen

By: Steven Campbell
November 2, 2018

Eight million Americans lost their jobs when the Great Recession hit the world in 2007. I was one of the age of sixty...and absolutely stunned! And my wife Mary would have to be told. Mary was an award-winning elementary school principal. During those years, the California School System was imploding, and the principals were getting a great deal of animosity from parents for having to assign their children to classrooms with 30 or more children. Mary was depending on me to continue working so she could retire. I went home early that day and waited in the kitchen. When she arrived home and sat across the breakfast table, she knew something was wrong. “What happened?” I told her. She was silent for a long time, and then said…in her quietest voice… “God’s going to do something wonderful!” A few weeks later, I volunteered to teach the college course I had developed for beginning students called “Your Amazing Mind” to the seven Senior Centers of Sonoma County. After a while, other organizations began paying me. Since then, I have spoken to over 30,000 people across the nation, and my book, Making Your Mind Magnificent, is in its fourth printing. But all this began in my mind when Mary said to me, “God’s going to do something wonderful!”   And I believed her. And then my brain believed me! That’s its job! Difficulties can make us stronger, but sometimes it takes some changes in our thinking. Unfortunately, some of us are not able to make those changes because we assert we cannot, and our brains believe us! But remember this, dear reader: making the decision to think differently can be an incredibly strong healer in itself. Yes...we can choose to think differently, and lock onto the good things in our lives. It doesn’t happen right away, but when we string together the seconds of choosing to center on the positive, those seconds can become minutes, and then an hour, and then a day, a month, a year, and then the rest of our lives.  And while this is happening, our brains are believing us, and then rewiring themselves so that our new optimistic mindsets become, over time, WHO WE ARE!  WOW! “Life IS difficult,” is the first sentence of Dr. M. Scott Peck’s groundbreaking book, The Road Less Traveled. It took his book nearly a decade to become a bestseller, perhaps because of those opening words. (No one wants to think that life is difficult.) The truth is that life IS difficult at times, but it’s not difficult all the time. And even in the difficult times, we can choose to look for the good things that are coming out of those difficulties. In other words, we need to take some mental initiative.  In fact, taking any initiative is better than taking none at all. I love what Wayne Gretsky said. (Mr. Gretsky is regarded by most as the best player in the history of national hockey.)  He said, “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take!” It can be as simple as deciding to count our blessings. (For me, my cardiac challenges have caused me to savor every second I’m alive now!) But what if I’m stuck, Steve?? If you’re stuck inside your own head and can’t seem to break free, watch the movie, The Theory of Everything. Stephen Hawking had every reason to feel sorry for himself and not outlive his diagnosis by 50 years, but he chose not to. So, you always have choices you can make about how you perceive your situations. Hard things DO happen to all of us, but we can choose to NOT let them ruin...or run...our lives. When we do, our brains will say, “Ok!”   “Is it true?” “Don’t care!”  “All I care about is what YOU tell me!” Wow again! Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available on line at For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.