The following article is by Kahuna Business Group CEO Frank Lunn and originally appeared in the Pantagraph.
I usually begin each work day around 6 a.m. at a local restaurant. I spend a couple hours of focused entrepreneurial attention with the benefit of a continuous flow of my caffeinated adult ADD medicine of choice.
Because I am easily distracted, I compensate by listening to classical music with headphones and wearing magnification glasses (cheaters) so my middle-aged eyes can handle smaller fonts. This has an interesting effect. Although my near vision remains clear, outside about a 6-foot radius, everything is blurry. You might say I live in my own little world for a couple of hours each morning.
It’s easy to become self-absorbed among our issues and challenges. One day at the end of my normal routine, I was leaving and asked my server Tracy if I could get my ticket. She smiled and said, “All taken care of.” I gave her a quizzical look. She smiled even broader, handing me the ticket marked, “Paid!” Attached to the receipt was a handwritten note reading, “Pay it forward & Don’t Drink & Drive! #MCSTRONG Have a great day!!”
This stopped me and brought me back to reality as I realized it was part of the campaign and tribute to the late Michael Collins and his life encouraging others to “Pay it forward!”
For those who may not know, Michael Collins was a passenger in a vehicle hit by an alleged drunk driver who ran a red light. Michael passed away on April 2, and as heartbreaking as this is, he was an organ donor. Because of his wish to help others, his initial legacy helped more than 200 people improve their lives.
To paraphrase a popular saying, “Adversity happens!” This isn’t meant to be trite or diminish a terrible tragedy. Instead, it’s a reminder that we all face adversity and challenges in our lives.
Some will be inconvenient, some will be serious. Sometimes, it includes tremendous loss like the death of a loved one. We cannot control what happens or when we will face adversity. Our only control is in our ability to find meaning, adjusting our mindset and attitude in the most constructive ways possible. It is natural, and even healthy initially, to feel bitter or angry with the injustice. But these attitudes are not constructive long term.
In the tragic passing of a young man, it would be easy to take the low road of blame, anger and self-pity. Instead, his close friends and family turned tragedy into a triumph. They converted their adversity into blessings for others through his organ donations. They started a campaign of random acts of kindness, encouraging other to get out of their bubble to “Pay it forward!” With social media and the Twitter hashtag of #MCSTRONG, the campaign is still going on.
The random gift to me was reminder this shouldn’t be a rare event, but how we live our lives. As a small token of appreciation to the person who paid for my breakfast and in tribute to the memory of Michael Collins, I’d like to share a free e-book with the theme, “Blessings In Adversity!”
I wrote “Convert Challenges, Difficulties and Hardships Into Blessings and New Opportunities” when I was trying to learn practical optimism and how to find meaning in difficult situations. The download is free at www.KahunaCharitable.org with no strings or obligation other than to please continue honoring the spirit of Michael Collins’ legacy example and to “Pay it forward.”
Learn more about Michael’s story and the MCSTRONG campaign by visiting the MCSTRONG webiste.