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3 Ways to Punch Setbacks in the Mouth!

There are very few times in my life that I have been at a complete loss for words. Once, when I was a kid, my mother flew out of the driveway without looking behind her first, (not that it would have helped) completely destroying my new scooter in the process. I didn’t have much to say because I knew words could never bring my scooter back.

The worse part was that my dear mom innocently dragged the scooter under her back tire for another 10 yards, smiling as she peeled out towards the road, crushing my summer dreams again for a second time.

Sometimes life is like a brand new scooter. You wait to receive that perfect package, eager to rip open the box and fly down the biggest hill in town, wind whipping your face as you race off into the clouds.

Other times, life is like a crazy dude in a big car that runs your scooter over with his giant tires for fun, then decides to come back for seconds. Now, don’t get me wrong, not everyone owns or likes to ride scooters. (And my mom isn’t a dude. She is the sweetest lady living, even if she accidently ran over my scooter.)

However, whether it’s the purposeful acts of others, mere accidents, or our own mistakes, we all experience setbacks.

My most recent setback came as I drove home from buying engine oil at Walmart. I decided to actually take care of my vehicle problems before they take care of me—I took my car out to Applebee’s instead of buying off the McDonald’s dollar menu. (I even stopped to put the oil in my car in the parking lot classic redneck style.)

I started back off towards the retired retirement home, (my home) and I hear a huge KLUNK in the middle of the road. When I get back home, I realize that the entire exhaust pipe dethatched from the back of my car. How does that happen?

the color
of my Honda

my soul
without my

(And the color of my exhaust as it shoots out my sawed-off exhaust pipe.)

1.    When life gives you lemons…throw them out

Nobody likes lemons anyways. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. But even if you wanted to make lemonade that would take a lot of extra time and effort, and not to mention resources you probably don’t have on hand. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Instead of focusing on the lemons, focus on the great everyday kinda things.

On my last trip to Yellowstone, the park was packed full of people. So much so that I’m pretty sure that the line for the only toilet at the Paint Pots stretched back to the beginning of time. I’m also fairly positive that unless something changed fast, these tourists were about to paint the Paint Pots a different color, if you know what I mean.

I’ll be honest; I was frustrated with the traffic. I was also scared to get out of my car with the possibility of getting trampled by old couples and their walkers and hounds of tourists hunting for their parked cars.

Somehow, someway, I overcame my feelings and stepped out of my car into the open. Because I threw out my own personal lemons I found some great fruit in these sweet pictures of the Paint Pots. Now, I know that some trials never leave us in this life. But we always control how we react to the situations we’re in.

We can either let the lemons get the best of us, or throw them on the ground with force and live to fight another day.

Paint Pots
2.   Think outside of the geyser

Old Faithful stands tall as one of the most reliable forces of nature on earth. This geyser erupts like clockwork every 60 min. But when the first parties entering Yellowstone discovered this natural wonder, they didn’t just stand around admiring the view every hour.

Old Faithful from Observation Point
They used the geyser for completing their laundry (how convenient). (Wikipedia) Sure some of their clothes burned, but they also discovered that certain kinds of fabric outlast the heat. Now, I’m not suggesting the next time you take grandma up to the park you chuck your dirty laundry into the inferno. The point is they weren’t afraid to think outside of the geyser…err, I mean box.

This got me thinking. What if my life was like a geyser that erupted every 60 minutes? Sure it would be cool for the first day. But it would probably get really old, really fast.

“Extra-ordinary Geyser”

alarm clock rings,
it’s 7:15,
time for work,
don’t go


Grab a shirt,
grab a pack,
man I wish
I had a snack


Got to work,
10 min. late,
new boss
decides my fate.


extra-ordinary geyser.

3.   Don’t be afraid to tackle a bison!

Ok, maybe it’s true you will never take down a bison with your bare hands—unless of course you’re Chuck Norris.

A friend once told me how he overcame fear. Each day he woke up and asked himself the same question: “What’s one thing I’m afraid of doing?” Then he would go and do that thing. Later on he carried the type of confidence most men and women dream of possessing. He could walk up to anyone and strike up a conversation. A fear became strength.

Not too long ago my coworker Billy talked to me about his brother Kevin. Kevin experienced a traumatic breakup, and Billy tried to help him through it. None of it made sense to either of them. The relationship seemed to flow perfectly, but out of the blue Kevin’s girlfriend called to cut the ties between them. Sometimes, life comes flying at you without notice.

All we really control in life is the power to react to the circumstances thrown at us. We choose to play the victim, or we choose to live each day like it’s our last, like we never lived it before, like all things are possible. When your next bison/challenge comes around, don’t be afraid to take a stand.

Bison near Firehole River

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