There ain’t nothing from the outside that can lick any of us.

There ain’t nothing from the outside that can lick any of us.Margaret Mitchell

Are you licked? Have you given up? Have you accepted defeat? Only when you are licked within is it truly over.

What does that mean?
The line, from her novel ‘Gone with the Wind,’ is spoken as part of the eulogy for Scarlett’s father, Gerald O’Hara. He was being described as someone who could withstand any setback, from any quarter, at any time. The distinction was drawn between the forces outside ourselves and those which emanate from within.

What finally ‘licked’ (Southern English for defeated) him was the death of his wife, which took the spirit out of him. In the book, he had built a plantation, survived the Civil War, having his possessions burned or looted, and the taxation and hunger that followed. But he was turned into a shell of a man from the inside.

To me, this is the whole point of the quote. If you stand fast, you can weather any storm. Nothing from the outside can break you, nothing from the outside can defeat you. Only you can defeat yourself, and that can only happen if you give up. You might not always win, but so long as you get back up, you are not defeated.

Why is standing strong important?  
The winds blow. People can change or even turn on you. You will get knocked down, you will fail. That is part of life. How will you handle these events, these eventualities? Because they will happen. Sometimes at the least convenient times. That’s how it goes.

And that is what standing strong is all about. It is about getting back up. It is about standing firm for the things you believe in. It is about assessing what happened, what worked and what didn’t work. It is about figuring out how to do better next time, and it’s about doing it. Again and again, if necessary.

It’s easy to feel defeated when something doesn’t go your way. It’s easy to curl up and have a pity party. But it doesn’t help much, does it? I’ve never found it to make the situation better, it only provides momentary comfort. What gets things done is standing strong. It’s really the only thing, besides sheer dumb luck, that gets things done.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Anywhere you have had a failure, anywhere you have ended up with something other than the best possible outcome, anywhere you have given up. While those are just a few places you can apply this, you can always find more for yourself, right?

Where in your life are you having a pity party? Where in your life are you on the ground, not having made the effort to stand back up? When are you going to get back in the game? When are you going to stand strong and face the challenges in your life?

Might I be so bold as to suggest that there is no time like the present? Really, it’s the only time to do anything. You can plan for the future, but your action of planning is happening in the present. You can’t bet on the future. You cannot change what you did (or did not do) in the past.

Note that I’m not talking any single instance or event, such as a game or an election. Such contests are designed to have a high failure rate. You can’t expect to win every single one. However, if you stand strong, you can try again in the next contest. Change your approach, learn from what didn’t work, and do it again.

Now if you are to do anything, it has to be now, even if it’s just to plan what your next move is going to be. Grab some paper and write down the answers to the questions from the top of this section. How many items are on your list? Mine had more than just a few items on it.

Select one of the items to start with, as you can always come back and do this again for each item (and any new ones that pop up in the future). Use a new page to write down how the event in question sapped your will and licked you from within.

Now consider how you can shake that off. What do you have to think, what do you have to believe in order to get back on your feet and stand strong in the face of what life has sent your way? Write these things down as well. Take as long as necessary to capture all of it.

Now look at what you have written. Are you sure enough in your resolve to stand back up, or do you need to strengthen your arguments? Keep working at it until you have a list of responses that you are sure will overcome what kept you down after you fell.

Now, with your resolve steeled, it’s time to address what you will do once you get back on your feet. Once you have the will, what is the plan? What have you learned from the results of your prior efforts? What will you do differently this time, and how will you learn from that attempt, should it not work out perfectly?

That last point is key, in my opinion. Having a PlanB, for when things don’t go as planned in PlanA, is crucial. Other than trivial things, how often do you get anything exactly right the first time? I know I rarely get it right the first time, even when it is something trivial.

Planning for the possibility of a less than desirable outcome is also an important part of being prepared to weather the storm, to stand strong. It then ceases to be a one shot, all or nothing approach. You understand you may get knocked to the ground again. But you have a plan for that as well.

The only way to truly be defeated is to give up, to lick yourself, as the quote would say. If you are willing to stand strong and keep after your goals, there is nothing that can stop you, nothing that can lick you.

I firmly believe this to be true, and have experienced it numerous times in my life. I also believe that if you look into your life, you will find it to be true in yours as well.

From: Twitter, ‏@dkrennie
confirmed at :
Photo by country_boy_shane

Happy Birthday to Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, born 8 November, 1900.

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