When Life Happens, How Will You Respond?


Recently I was in a repair shop and I saw a familiar quote. Although I heard this quote before, I never really stopped to think about what it was saying.

“Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” ~Lou Holtz

Later on, I begin to think about my life as it relates to that quote. I did not grow up on the “privileged” side of the tracks. My mother was a single parent and raised three children on her own.

As a teen I saw a lot of people around me become teenage mothers, high school drop-outs, drug dealers, inmates, drug addicts, and so on. What I saw and grew up around was the 10 percent!

In the 11th grade, one of my teachers asked me about my home situation. I told her that I was from a single parent home. She then looked at me and said “Huh, you know statistics say that because you are from a single parent home you are more likely to get pregnant and drop out of high school.” What she said to me and what statistics said about me was the 10 percent!

I went to the University of Texas in Austin, a well-known college here in Texas. During my first year, I went to one of my professor’s office hours. My professor looked at me and said, “So, Keishawna are you here on scholarship?” I replied “yes.” Her response, “Really, what sport do you play?” My response, “I don’t play sports.” Her view of me based on the color of my skin was the 10 percent!

At 26 when I decided to buy a house, the broker working with my realtor said, that a young woman like me on my salary could only afford an older built pre-owned home in an urban lower-income neighborhood. Therefore, they only referred me to those types of homes and neighborhoods because a new home was not “realistic” for me. Sending me to neighborhoods I did not want to live in and telling me that was all I could afford was the ten percent!

Why am I saying all of this? I now realize the truth of that quote and how much your attitude and perspective plays a part in your life. You could take another girl or woman and put her in those same situations I described above and the outcome could have been different.

Although “statistics” said, I should have been a high school dropout or a teen mom, I WAS NOT!

Although during my time at the University of Texas, many minority students were there on a sports scholarship, I WAS NOT! I was there on an academic scholarship because I graduated in the top 5% of my class.

Although the realtor and broker thought and said that I would not be able to buy a new home in a nice neighborhood, I DID!

We cannot always control the hand dealt to us, the neighborhood we grew up in, the parents we were born to, society’s view of us, or what some researchers study says about someone in our situation, BUT we can control how we respond to it. That is the 90 percent! We should not allow life’s circumstances, other’s views or even our own self-doubt define our future.

Wayne Dyer once wrote, “Stop complaining! Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.”
In everything that happens in life remember not to be so quick to react, or focused on the negative, that you cannot see the positive side or the lesson in the situation.

I am not down playing or minimizing anyone who may have been a teen parent, dropped out of school, started off in an older home, etc. I am firm believer that all things work together for our good in the end. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. If God allowed it to happen in your life, He has purpose in it. You can quack and complain about it or learn the lesson in the situation and turn it around and rise above it.

Anyone can complain about a situation, but it takes a bigger person to see the problem and find an answer. Sometimes the only answer is to change your attitude about the situation.

So ask yourself today, “When that 10 percent in life happens, do I quack or soar”?

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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