Losing Control

In the small town of Enterprise, Alabama there is a monument to an unusual hero on the corner of a main street which celebrates the true story of curse being viewed as an opportunity.

Erected by the people of the town in 1919, the stone plaque is dedicated to a highly destructive insect, the ‘Boll Weevil’.

This creature devastated the local cotton growing region and the local economy only three years earlier by decimating the South’s cotton industry, but the city of Enterprise found prosperity instead.

The Boll Weevil is hailed as the ‘Herald of Prosperity’ in that, after the sudden great demise of the cotton, a shrewd businessperson convinced a local to back his venture and began planting peanuts.

The first crop paid off their debts and as others quickly followed in the practice, cotton also returned to the county. However the lessons that have helped prosper the region began in what had all the appearances of disaster and in losing control.

But do we have complete control over anything?

We hear of tragedies and problems often, but we do have a lot of ability to ‘make our own luck?’ We must prosper and improve what we can control and prepare for those opportunities that we dream about, regardless of what may come.

In career development, we have a concept called ‘Happenstance Theory’. It is the theory that if we open enough doors, we create opportunities that beneficially propel us forward.

“Indecision is desirable and sensible, as it allows the opportunity for clients to benefit from unplanned events.” – John Krumboltz

In my life, my failures in business have contributed directly to my success now. Some of my biggest ‘failures’ have counted as credentials towards my present occupation and success.

Consider the story that Career Coach, Dan Miller tells of a Scottish family. Their little five year old boy got a dog bite just one week before their trip to America to start a new life.

Fearing rabies, the practice in those days was to isolate the child for two weeks to prevent spread of the disease. With their life savings lost and little hope of ever getting to their destination, the family were disappointed and blamed the child for their demise.

However, when the boat they were to be traveling on – HMAS ‘Titanic’ sank 12 days later. They realised that they had been saved from a tragic end and the little boy was thanked for saving the family.

To say we have complete control over our lives is surely delusional. However, when things happen outside of ‘the plan’ we had set, we have a choice in how we respond and how we view the effects on our lives.

Remember that being different is your biggest asset and you don’t have to be like everyone else.

Dave Brebner.

E: dave@davebrebner.com


About the Author:

Dave is an Adult Educator, Speaker and Youth leader living in Western Sydney, Australia where he teaches the Electrical Trades at the Western Sydney Institute. He has Diplomas in Business and Training, a Bachelors Degree in Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training and a Masters of Education with a major in Career Development. He has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders since an early age. He is married with 6 children. He is a passionate coach and mentor to young people especially in the vocational guidance and career development areas. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia and has authored a course on Living with Tourette’s which you can study and purchase online.

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