Global Resilience Solutions > 2011 > December

Turn Your Luck Around with Vicarious Victories

It never rains, but what it pours
If Lady Luck should happen to desert you
A bit of rain is never going to hurt you
So wait and the skies will be blue

– “It Never Rains, But What It Pours”

In all of our lives, there are periods when we lack inspiration and motivation. It may feel as if you’ve lost too many battles. If your every effort appears to be thwarted, it can be intensely discouraging. And why not feel down? It’s understandable to feel low when nothing seems to go right. And when things are looking up, it’s a great feeling!

The good news is, as humans, we are very suggestible beings. It is possible to feel like you’re winning again simply by being around high-achieving people – there’s a reason people gravitate to success. This works similarly to that feeling of joy and accomplishment when your favorite hockey or football team wins – all you did was watch from the sidelines, but it feels almost as good as if you scored that goal or touchdown!

By surrounding yourself with people that you respect and admire, you can become more like them. Maintain friendships that raise you up and inspire you to succeed – their victories can become your victories!

A young woman I know was feeling worried about her career choices. She couldn’t figure out where her path in life was, and she was concerned that she would never find a job that suited her. Then, one day in the library, she stumbled across a biography of Jane Goodall. “I was just so inspired by her. I loved reading about her successes, but how she overcame her failures was even more interesting. The best part is, I feel we have so much in common! It really makes me feel as if I can accomplish some of the things she did, as we both had similar beginnings.” That young woman has decided to study zoology, and she is doing well. It was fascinating to hear about how a vicarious experience could be turn into a personal success!

Have you ever had the experience of seeing a motivational movie or reading an inspirational book, one that really spoke to you on a personal level? It can be very rewarding! So why wait to have a vicarious victory? Make deliberate efforts to experience inspiration. Watch movies others have found uplifting, read books about people you admire, and you’ll feel as if the world is full of possibilities.  And it is!

I spoke with people about their favorite sources of motivation and came up with many inspiring films:

Yes Man (Jim Carrey, Zoe Deschanel) – for those who have trouble saying yes to life!
Julie and Julia (Amy Adams, Meryl Streep) – for the cooks out there!
Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) – for sports fans
Rudy (Sean Astin) – another one for sports fans – the young man I spoke to told me his gym teacher used to put this on at least once a month, and every time.
Dead Poet’s Society – for writers, teachers
Forest Gump – I warn you, it’s a tearjerker! A classic film
Billy Elliot – for anyone who believes they can’t do something because of who they are and where they come from

Inspiring People to Read About

Jane Goodall
Nelson Mandela
Al Gore
Maya Angelou
Roméo Dallaire
 Mahatma Gandhi
Mother Theresa of Calcutta
The Dalai Lama
Margaret Atwood

It can also be helpful to listen to motivational speakers. This Harvard Commencement Speech by is JK Rowling is very inspirational:



Now get out there and get motivated. And remember, the more you experience vicarious victories, the sooner you’ll experience your own REAL victories!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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