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Everything changes when we reframe our challenges into opportunities.

This 2-minute video from Jocko Willink is the most potent empowerment you can give yourself or your team. I’ve watched it countless times and recommended it to my clients even more.

When something is wrong and going bad, he says “GOOD” and then reframes his attention to focus on the opportunity that the challenge brings.

Every challenge brings an opportunity. Not everyone will see it. Most will not. What we fix our eyes on matters. If we fix our eyes on the problems, we will get more problems. If we fix our eyes on the opportunity, we will get more opportunities. You can call this the “compounding law of attention.” The things we give our attention, compound. This is why gratitude is such a powerful practice. And why automatic negative thoughts are so detrimental. Because they compound over time.

Here is the script he uses.


Whatever challenge you are facing today. I encourage you to flip it with this script.


– received some challenging feedback from your boss….good…at least you are aware of it now and can work on it

– high employee turnover….good…now we can bring in some fresh perspective.

– your budget got cut….good…lets innovate and do more with less.

– team members disengaged….good…now we can build some bridges of connection

– teammates causing issues….good…now you can have that heart-to-heart you’ve been putting off.


– hurt your wrist and can’t workout….good…now you can catch up on some running.

– lost your phone….good…now you’ve got more time to journal.

– got laid off….good…now you can launch that new venture.

– conflict at home….good…. It gives you a chance to get some good feedback you weren’t aware of.

– recent cancer diagnosis….good…you’re no longer taking things for granted.

That last one hits home. My dad was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago this week. It reminds me of another quote I heard around that time.

“The same sun will harden clay and melt wax.”

It is from a book by Tim Keller called “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.” It means the same suffering will cause some people to melt towards God and others to harden away from him.

It is tough to see the good in a challenging situation. In order to do so, we have to shift our perspective, to emotionally detach from the pain, and rise above it. This doesn’t cancel out the pain or the struggle; it adds to it.

Saying the word “GOOD” is kind of like the word “AND”.

It creates a paradox where two seemingly contradictory truths come together to create an even greater truth.

There is a darkness rising….GOOD…It will be easier to see the light

Take heart.

The Actual Transcription

“How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeats, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations, summed up in one word:


This is something that one of my direct subordinates, one of the guys who worked for me, a guy who became one of my best friends pointed out.

He would pull me aside with some major problem or issue that was going on, and he’d say, “Boss, we’ve got this thing, this situation, and it’s going terribly wrong.”

I would look at him and say, “Good.”

And finally, one day, he was telling me about something that was going off the rails, and as soon as he finished explaining it to me, he said, “I already know what you’re going to say.”

And I asked, “What am I going to say?”

And he said, “You’re going to say: ‘Good.’ ”

He continued, “That’s what you always say. When Something is wrong or going bad, you just look at me and say, ‘Good.’ ”

And I said, “Well. I mean it. Because that is how I operate.”

So I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.

Oh, the mission got canceled? Good… We can focus on another one.
Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good… We can keep it simple.
Didn’t get promoted? Good… More time to get better.
Didn’t get funded? Good… We own more of the company.
Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good… Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
Got injured? Good… Needed a break from training.
Got tapped out? Good… It’s better to tap out in training than tap out on the street.
Got beat? Good… We learned.
Unexpected problems? Good… We have to figure out a solutions

That’s it. When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get started, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”

Now, I don’t mean to say something trite; I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy.

That guy ignores the hard truth.

That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems.

It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.

Finally: if you can say the word “good,” then guess what?

It means you’re still alive.

It means you’re still breathing.

And if you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you.

So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage – and go out on the attack.”

-Jocko Willink

Here is the audio from Jocko Podcast: