Setbacks   temporary hurdles or insurmountable obstacles?

In a recent article about overcoming setbacks on, Adam Khan provides a very good system for handling setbacks and explains the difference in results between groups of people who learn to deal with setbacks effectively and those who don’t.

It’s well worth reading the article here on

I am re-reading The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and HappinessSetbacks   temporary hurdles or insurmountable obstacles?
by Noah St. John – it’s a book that has to be read more than once -  in it he calls the small group of people who are naturally successful high achievers, “The Three Percenters” because they only comprise about 3 % of the population.

The other 97 % of us have to work on ourselves, our beliefs and our habits before we can become successful. 

So combining what I have been reading from these two authors and looking at how we handle setbacks, it strikes me that the “Three Percenters” see setbacks as temporary indicators that a change of some sort is required.

A change of direction, effort, intensity. A modification of a plan, a slight refinement of strategy or a tactical tweak, but not a radical change of focus.

Many of the 97 % see setbacks as insurmountable obstacles, stop signs, reasons to give up.

Successful people find a way around, over, under or through an obstacle, keep moving forward and then do it all over again for the next one.

All this was fresh in my mind when I experienced my own setback this week. The results of my stress test were less than ideal – my last post. I had to spend an entire day at the hospital. I missed an important conference call, a coaching call and did not do other stuff that I had planned.

But I did get two blog posts written, spent several hours reading classic literature on my e-reader. Met some wonderful, caring and overworked nurses, gained a much greater appreciation for medical staff. Seeing people in far more pain and discomfort than myself made me realise that I have a lot to be grateful for.

So on balance, the setback of losing a day at my desk turned into a day with many bonuses because I made the choice to turn it into a positive experience.

What about the medical problem that caused me to spend the day in hospital? This is not yet a setback, I feel as good as I did before the test. I may need surgery in the near future. At worst, I will need to spend a few days in hospital and have a big new scar on my chest. Not the end of the world.

But until I see the doctor in a few days time it’s all conjecture and not worthy of concern. So right now it’s not a setback.

How do you handle setbacks?

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Setbacks   temporary hurdles or insurmountable obstacles?

Setbacks   temporary hurdles or insurmountable obstacles?
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