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How do you respond when faced with a fresh challenge? Is your default response one of excitement or dread?

For many, the sad truth is that we’re automatically overwhelmed by challenges, and in succumbing to them, we fail to recognise the opportunity they present for us to grow and take forward steps towards realising real success.

Unfortunately, this thinking, though defeatist, is not uncommon.

But there are however, countless heroes who’ve attained greatness because of the challenges life threw their way. Those who were resolute in their desire to reach their destiny.

People like the American professional golfer Ben Hogan (August 1912 – July 1997), who following a road traffic accident, in which he saved his wife’s life by leaning over her during a head on collision with a Greyhound Bus, suffered injuries that experts believed would end his golfing career.

He had other ideas though.

Following the accident in February 1949, emergency services wanted to leave his golf clubs – which had been tossed from the vehicle – on the roadside; figuring he wouldn’t need them again.

Valerie, his wife, had other ideas.

Having insisted that the clubs be rounded up, while recovering in hospital she placed them in his room – a constant visual reminder of his aspiration to not only recover, but to play golf again.

And it worked.

Just 59 days after the crash, Hogan checked out of hospital. And in November 1949, a remarkable nine months after the accident, he was back on the green, swinging his golf clubs.

A short while later, at the 1950 PGA Tour, Hogan lost at the 18th hole playoff to Sam Snead at the Los Angeles Open, which considering the extent of his injuries, and the fact that health professionals thought he wouldn’t recover, was a phenomenal achievement.

But what was the secret to his success?

I believe it was that:

  • He had a desire for success that was stronger than the challenge
  • He had, in his wife Valerie, someone who believed in him
  • He worked hard and was willing to get his hands dirty during his rehabilitation
  • He refused to fall into the trap of self-pity
  • He took control of the situation and made things happen
  • He acknowledged and embraced the challenge
  • He dismissed all negative influences
  • He treated the occasion as an opportunity to develop his character
  • He held onto his dream

There is much we can learn from the likes of Ben Hogan.

Individuals who display such amazing strength of character, courage and resilience to accomplish success, overcome against the odds, and demonstrate the possibilities that come with embracing life’s challenges.

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