3 C’s that will help you sail through the school of life

Stock image | St. George News

FEATURE — When you encounter calm seas and your life is smooth sailing, you can be assured that a storm will come that will challenge even the most competent sailor. When these times arise, be prepared to alter your course and make adjustments so that you can better ride out the storm and overcome the adversities that come your way.

In applying this principle, I use a model in my life that I learned a few years ago. This formula was presented in the commencement address given by Elie Wiesel, at my brother’s college graduation. Consider the “Three C’s” model.

The first “C” is Commitment. Whatever task you set out to accomplish, you must commit to its completion and stay true to your commitment.

The second “C” is Challenge. Along the path to completing your task, you will encounter challenges. You should consider these challenges as opportunities, instead of problems.

The third “C” is Change. When you encounter major barriers, you need to be flexible. Adapt and change if necessary. Do not become so involved in trying to open a closed door that you miss the open ones.

As an employer I learned that when working with employees, you encounter constant change. A key employee may resign because a spouse is being transferred to another city. Another employee may request a decrease in hours from full-time to part-time because of an unexpected family problem. The variations of change in people and circumstances in the business world are absolutely endless.

Experience has taught me to view these challenges as opportunities, and then adapt my response to each challenge. Negative situations can turn positive. When every single challenge becomes an opportunity for positive change, the energy of the experience builds momentum and propels you upward.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

– Anne Bradstreet

Adapting to challenges in a positive way can prove to be educational.

One day I had an evening full of errands and meetings to attend. It was very hot outside, and I was driving in congested city traffic. Steam started boiling from under the hood of my car and the temperature gauge on the engine went crazy. The car started losing power, so I pulled into a parking lot and quickly discovered that I would not be driving my car any further. I then ended up in a tow truck instead of at my scheduled meetings.

I chose to adjust my schedule as well as my attitude. A negative response to this situation would have only given me an ulcer. I had never experienced having my car towed. I was determined to learn everything I could from the situation. It was interesting. I was able to meet and get to know someone new, and I grew from the experience.

Two days later I picked up my car from the repair shop. After driving a short distance, the car again overheated, and I had another experience of having my car towed. The car overheated the second time because a mechanic left a part out during the repair.

Because I had previously learned about towing, this experience was not stressful, and I was able to adapt once again.

I have also noticed that sometimes when I try to plan an activity with my family, they have different plans. If I am willing to adjust to their plans, it will always bring about a positive result.

Learn to adapt. Don’t let your life become rigid or stale. This has been a challenge for me, but the more I work on being less rigid and adapting to changes, the easier it is to be flexible.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to learn how to be flexible and adapt to challenges and changes in life. If you can master this principle, you will be able to learn and benefit from success and failure equally.

Jack Rolfe, undated | Photo courtesy of St. George Health and Wellness magazine, St. George News
Jack Rolfe, undated | Photo courtesy of St. George Health and Wellness magazine, St. George News

Written by Jack W. Rolfe for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News

Rolfe is the founder and President of the School of Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help youth reach their full potential in life. It is impacting thousands of young people across the world while teaming up with hundreds of schools and other youth organizations. The character-building curriculum taught by the School of Life Foundation is contained in Rolfe’s book Learn to “School” Your Toughest Opponent.

The School of Life program is producing statistical data showing that building a young person’s character increases their GPA scores. Rolfe’s vision with this work is to lead a “positive disruption” in education. He is a professional speaker and holds the honor of presenting at the first National Mentoring Summit held in the Library of Congress.

In addition Rolfe conducts workshops at colleges and universities titled Achieving Straight A’s in the School of Life.

Rolfe and his wife, Lexie, have five children, eight grandchildren and reside in St. George. His friends call him the Silver Fox.

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