Making crisis work positively

                                                                                                                   pic courtesy news.com.au
Sam Cawthorn’s personal life journey changed dramatically in October 2006 when he was involved in a major car accident and died. He was resuscitated; but he had to live with an amputated right arm and a permanent disability in his right leg. He was hospitalized for over five months and confined to a wheelchair for close to a year.

But it is the story of Sam’s remarkable resilience, his mental strength as well as his physical recovery that has amazed and inspired so many Australians and people around the world. He is now a highly sought-after speaker and has spoken to over 50,000 people throughout Australia and overseas. He has been nominated for many awards and more recently, he won the 2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania. He speaks to Abhijit Ganguly over a cup of coffee at The Chocolate Room, Kolkata.

With the poor economic situation and lack of jobs, how far can motivational exercises help and what are your suggestions in this regard?

Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis is a good thing as it forces us to change what is not working. It makes us look at things differently. With economic slowdown happening across the world including India, we must look at how we can capitalize on this and make crisis work positively.

The fastest growing company in the history of time started in the middle of the biggest financial recession of our time. Groupon was offered USD 5.3 billion from Google, just 18 months from starting, and they started in the middle of the financial crisis. Motivational exercises are not just an injection of hype but in a motivational peak state, we can empower ourselves to push on, capture opportunities and have an unstoppable attitude in the face of tough times.

In the business arena, what qualities of prime importance should an entrepreneur possess?

Firstly, every business entrepreneur must realize that failure is good. It’s the most important way that we can learn. Another way of looking at it is what I like to call ‘Adversarial Growth’. This means that in the toughest of adversities, failures or problems can ignite some of the greatest growth periods in our lives.

Another quality of prime importance during this time is proximity. Business entrepreneurs must seek quality mentorship and be open to grow by hanging out with the right type of people. Proximity is power, the company that you choose determines who you are; you are the average of your five closest friends.

People hear a motivational speaker, get charged for one hour, and then they return to their routine lives. There are hardly a few who are truly inspired to change. What is your opinion?

There is a difference between a good and a great motivational speaker. A good motivational speaker will inspire but not produce long term outcomes. A great motivational speaker should not only inspire and empower but encourage transformation.

The problem is finding a great motivational speaker who knows the tools, systems and strategies to do this to their audiences in the long term. This is where quality training is needed for a good motivational speaker. A great motivational speaker leaves the audiences wanting more, keeps them in anticipation throughout and after talking for a few hours feels like a few minutes.

A great motivational speaker encourages his audiences to buy products for ongoing motivation and momentum based transformation. A great motivational speaker knows how to programme his audiences to remember tools and strategies long term. The question is not about whether a motivational speaker produces positive change, the question is how you can get a great motivational speaker within your proximity.

Frustration and depression have become silent killers. The challenge it is felt is not to get motivated but to stay motivated. What would you advise our readers?

Depression rates today are ten times greater then in the 1930's Great Depression. The mean onset age of depression 35 years ago was 29 years old, today it is 14 years old. Happiness and gratefulness are essential ingredients to counteract these ‘silent killers’. Not taking things for granted, realizing how blessed you are and making a decision to be happy are some ways. Staying motivated is a choice and an attitudinal decision. It’s not your condition but your decision that determines who you are.

So in summary, realize that crisis/depression is temporary and you go through it for a reason and a purpose, and that opportunity is just around the corner. Proximity is power and seeking mentorship, quality advice and hanging with the right people can inspire one to snap out of a tough time. 

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