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Some of our best lessons come from our greatest challenges, which is something that best-selling author and speaker Damon West is living proof of. In 2019, he wrote a wonderful book with my friend Jon Gordon, The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change, which shares how he overcame overwhelming obstacles.

A former college football quarterback who ended up using his leadership skills as the ringleader for a burglary ring after falling into drug addiction, his story of redemption provides five excellent insights for us all to apply to our lives.

We can’t let our environment change who we are

We have a choice in how we react to the situations that we are put in, making it important to choose to be a change agent. Taking accountability for our growth, rather than choosing to be a victim of our environment, is what leads to the results we desire.

Take stock in our belief systems (and how they are helping or hurting us)

We must remember that the results of our actions take time to see, so regularly taking inventory of the beliefs that we hold and evaluating their worth is an essential part of making progress. The longer we hold onto bad belief systems (such as limiting beliefs), the harder they are for us to get rid of.

The difference between religion and spirituality

While many believe that spirituality and religion are the same, they can exist separately from each other. Our spirituality is what empowers us to make a personal connection with our higher source, something that can occur outside the institution of religion. From there, it is up to us to ensure we serve the right god with our actions.

Look at everyone in our life as a teacher

We have the ability to learn lessons from all people that are in our lives if we are paying attention. They can teach us how to do things the right way or the wrong way, helping us to avoid paying the “dummy tax” in the process. We must be receptive to the messages we receive, especially from the people who go out of their way to invest in us.

Focus on what we can control

Believing we are in control of everything in our existence is a fallacy. There are really only five aspects of life we can control: what we think, feel, say, do, and believe. By examining the times we feel uncomfortable or at “dis-ease”, we can look at which of these areas may be the cause, and then make any adjustment necessary.

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