Flipping Coins


By Mark E. Smith

They say that there are two sides to every coin – and that’s so true in life. The fact is that adversity happens to all of us, but so can success, often all in the same circumstance. Often turning a vying into a victory, you might say, comes down to simply flipping the coin to the other side. On a deeper level, it’s a principle that I call, Making that which seems against you, actually work for you. It’s about taking the bad tosses of life, and flipping the coin over so that they become blessings, successes, better than where you started.

A friend of mine loved her job, having worked it for 10 years, making close to $100,000 per year. She admired her co-workers, was immensely talented, and was loyal to her employer. She told me that she hoped to run the whole division she was in some day. She was inspired, accomplished, and on the fast track. So, imagine how devastated she was when she was abruptly let go, her job gone.

I worried about her tremendously, wondering where she would go, what she would do? To make matters more concerning, she was the bread-winner in her household, supporting two children and a mortgage. What good could possibly come out of that situation, one that countless Americans currently face? Indeed, it was a terrible toss of the coin, the losing side of life flipped up.

However, my friend did something amazing: She did what it took to turn the coin right-side-up. Within two weeks, she had a new job several states away, bold enough to make that move. And, after a year at that job, doing very well, she was hired at one of her old employer’s competitors for more money, in a more prestigious position. That which originally seemed to work against her, ultimately worked for her. She didn’t just come out of adversity, she came out on top.

Think about how many aspects of our lives that seem against us, actually work for us. An ended bad relationship leads to a healthy new one; a job loss leads to a better one; addiction-recovery leads to healthier living. The list goes on and on. However, the truth comes down to this: Just when you think life’s dealt you a blow with the bad side of a coin, remember that there’s always another side. Flip it over, and make that which seems against you, actually work for you.

I recently saw the movie, The Sessions, based on the true story of writer, Mark O’Brien. Struck with polio as a young boy, he spent his life completely paralyzed, most of the time living in an iron lung. Yet, he used among his only capabilities – the ability to move his head – to control a mouth stick, meticulously typing one letter at a time, ultimately publishing countless articles and poetry on subjects ranging from disability commentary to baseball to interviewing Dr. Stephen Hawking. O’Brien took among the toughest plights – imagine all that was against him – and made it work for him.

Life is going to give us all bad tosses of the coin. Heck, I sometimes think I’ve had so many bad tosses of coins that my adversities keep the Federal Reserve’s mint in business! Yet, I always know exactly what to do when bad tosses of the coin come my way: flip it over, making that which seems against me, actually work for me. I was raised by alcoholic-addicts, so I’ve lived a very sober life. Being a full-time single dad has made me a better dad, bring more joy to my life as a father than I could have ever imagined. Having cerebral palsy has allowed me among the most rewarding careers. I could have easily gone down terrible paths with each adversity in my life. However, before the coin even hits the ground, I’m usually snatching it mid-air, ensuring I’m righting it as quick as I can toward favor and blessing.

Bad tosses of the coin are going to come your way – that’s a fact. However, it’s up to you to leave it as-is, working against you, or strive to flip that coin over, making it work for you. I say, always strive to find the shiny side to any coin – read that, situation – as that’s the only one that will add value to your life, taking you to levels of success that others may not have foreseen. 


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

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