So What! (Or How to Handle the Inevitable Setbacks in Life)

So What!
Image by PaoloMazzo (license).

Note: This is a guest post by Curtis Greve of Metreks

The other day I was talking with my good friend Pete and we were discussing the stock market, the job market and how there are a lot of people getting hurt and having trouble making ends meet, while watching their life’s savings drop in value by half or worse. Earlier that day, I had actually thrown a pity party over my IRA and my wife had to sit me down and tell me not to obsess over things I can’t control. 

I decided she was right, so to get my head straight; I called my good friend Pete. Pete is that guy that always makes you feel better when you talk to him.  This time, it was no different.  When I called, just the way he answered the phone made me feel better.  “Hello my friend.  How is my good buddy doing today?”  You got to love caller ID.

We chit chatted about family, friends, business and the economy.  As we were talking, Pete said something that really stuck with me.

“People ask me ‘what if you lose your job?’ and I keep saying the same thing.  So what! If I lose this job, I’ll find something better.  I may miss a house payment; my kids might have to take out a student loan to go to college, but so what.  What is the worst thing that can realistically happen?  I’ll end up better in the long run and I’ll be stronger for it.” 

You have to understand a few things about Pete.  He is the most upbeat, positive, ‘can do’ guy on the planet.  He came from a large family and his dad was a blue collar worker.  Pete decided that he was going to go to college, even though nobody from his family had ever gone to school past their senior year in high school.  He figured he would just get a football scholarship, which he did, to Purdue.

He did not just ‘go to Purdue.’ He met and married the best looking girl on campus.  He was the starting center for the Boiler Makers for four years.  His senior year, his team was ranked 5th in the nation and he played in big bowl game.  Oh yeah, he was named to Purdue’s “All Century Team” years later.

He loved football and had a dream of playing pro, after he graduated.  Sure enough, he got drafted by the Green Bay Packers but got cut during his first training camp.  That is where the story ends for many big time college athletes.   Pete was different.  What was Pete’s response?  So what, I’ll go get a job and be very successful. 

Pete went to work for a real estate company and after a couple of years he decided he would start his own company.  He figured if the company went under, so what.  It didn’t go under.  In fact it was a big success.  Soon his company was a leading industrial real estate firm in Indianapolis.  Next he was approached by the world’s largest industrial real estate firm and asked to join them as their global head of sales.

Pete’s thought it would be a great chance to gain valuable experience so he talked to his family and his partners and made the leap, and, if it didn’t work out, so what. Today, he is still there, making more money than he ever thought possible and in every way “living the dream.” He has the family, the house, the job, interest in his old business, pretty much everything he thought he could have.

So what is Pete’s secret?  Certainly hard work and effort is a big part of it but just as important, he always has a positive attitude.  He never wastes time looking back and thinking about what he should have done.  He never doubts his own abilities.  He lives a “can do life.” 

The other thing about Pete is that his positivity is infectious.  He shares it.  This is the same as other things in life.  The more positive and uplifting he is to his friends, the more positive and uplifting his friends are to him.  What goes around comes around.  Instead of participating in a world that is self defeating, he helps create a world that is uplifting.

Once when talking to a buddy who was having marriage issues, his friend said “You know, my tank is about empty.  I don’t think I can take much more of this.”  Pete’s response was “Why don’t you fill your tank back up?  You can either put a whole in your tank or fill it up.  It is your choice.  Every morning when you wake up, just decide ‘Today, my tank is full.”  That was seven years ago and my wife and I are having the time of our lives.

‘So what’ have I learned from Pete?

  1. Know that you will be better off in the long run, no matter what happens.
  2. Realize that you don’t have time to look back because you are enjoying today and building tomorrow.
  3. Be positive and uplifting to those around you and they will return the favor.
  4. Every morning, decide to have a full tank.

I hope this helps fill up your tank.  Today is an opportunity for you to make a difference in somebody’s life and it is a precious part of the journey called success.  Make the most of it. Pete will.

Curtis Greve is the CEO of Metreks, a consulting company that specializes in improving relationships between leaders and their teams.  In addition, Curtis is a speaker and is consider a leader in the field labor relations and supply chain management.  He and his family reside in Pittsburgh where he performs his most important job of being a father and husband.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rod


    Great article. I don’t think I am always as positive as Pete but when people ask me about taking a risk, normally it is not much of a risk. They are scared of failure, a “NO”. So instead of “so what”, I say “the worse thing they can say is No” People are afraid of Nos. I have done very well for myself with a lot of luck, so hard work and taking the attitude is “the worse thing they can say is No.


  • Thank you so much for this message! You are so right about how perception colors our whole life, and I think that there are too many people out there working themselves into a panic rather than realizing that we can (and will) make it through this.

  • Hi

    I can never agree enough with positive attitudes – and keeping them, whatever happens around one.
    The more positive one’s attitude, the more positive one’s future.

    It’s all about what you focus on. And it is all about choice. We are bought up in such a negative society, it can take quite a bit of effort to change our thoughts around, but the more we do it, the more of a habit it becomes. That’s where affirmations and visualisation, self-awareness etc. come in.


  • Kendra

    Loved It!!!!! I’m glad I came across this story. It was right on time. Thank you.

  • I loved the attitude in this article. Considering the current time, it’s very appropriate.


  • I’ve been thinking about this article all day. It’s really great! Thanks!

  • Willie

    Great article but please fix the misspelling: ‘You can either put a whole in your tank or fill it up’; whole should be hole. At least that’s what I think you were trying to say.

  • Worrying about things out of our circle of influence only saps our energy. By having a “so what” attitude will definitely help us to focus our energy on things that we can control instead of those that we can’t.

    Personal Development Blogger

  • It is a great and motivating article. However it is not always that easy.

    > “Know that you will be better off in the long run, no matter
    > what happens.”

    Is simply not true. If your house gets burned by a bush fire, your family dies, you discover you have cancer … all things that could happen. You could be better with very bad experiences regarding your religious view or you can learn to have no more positive expectations from life at all. But what means “better” here? I could either learn to enjoy life without loosing my house and family and would be better then.

    However, I like the “So What!” idea anyway.

  • Great post! This is a principle that I have tried to live by for a long time. I am now trying to help people realize the power of doing the same…many more people need to adapt this attitude.


  • It’s an amazing life approach, “no worries” in life, only a lot of experiences.
    how you interpreter the experiences are up to yourself.

    Is it something you can learn from or is it something there place yourself in a hole you cant get out of.

    That could be two different reaktions to the same situation. The big question is then, which one do you prefer appearing the most in your life?

    Have a fantastic wednesday
    Happiness Cafe

  • I love the article. You’re right, life really is about the journey, and especially the attitude. Thanks!

  • Faith

    LOL. It’s amazing how I run across just what I need when I need it.

    Great article.

  • Juncai

    This article helps me so much in this period, thanks so much!

  • Thank you for this wonderful blog. I sometimes have a hard time with life in general and now that I found your “positive blog” hopefully I can get some useful information from reading it! Thanks and keep writing!!