Emotional Pain Can Be a Catalyst for Life Changing Growth


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Think back to the worst emotional pain you experienced in life. Loss of a loved one, broken heart, business failure, getting fired from a job, divorce? Whatever it was that took your legs out from underneath you very likely altered your behavior. It caused you to reevaluate your life. It caused you to engage in some very deep thinking which probably led to some major changes in your life. Were they positive or negative changes?

I’ve learned so many things from studying the habits of self-made millionaires and those struggling with poverty. One of the lessons I learned is that these millionaires had developed a “positive reaction habit” to negative events. Painful events became catalysts for growth. Every mistake, every failure, every heartbreak was fuel for growth. For these millionaires, negative events resulted in positive change. They evolved and became successful.

Conversely, those struggling with poverty developed a “negative reaction habit” to negative events. Painful events became catalysts for isolation, depression and retreat. They devolved and struggled in life.

Emotional pain can be the best thing that can ever happen to you. It can spur you on to improve your life. I inadvertently stumbled onto the “positive reaction habit” when I was nineteen. A girl broke my heart. I moped for weeks, isolated myself from my friends and family and retreated. Then one day one of my friends, Doug Savino, got fed up with my depression. He looked me straight in the eyes and said “man up Tom. Stop crying about it. Show her what a mistake she made in dumping you.” What happened next changed my life forever. I threw myself into weight lifting, school and work. I gained fifteen pounds of muscle in less than a year, took my college grade point average from 3.1 to 4.0 within two years, got on the Dean’s List, worked more hours, which increased my income that I then used to pay for college, thus reducing the amount of student loans I needed. In short, I transformed myself from ordinary to extraordinary. All because someone unknowingly taught me the right way to react to emotional pain – use the pain as a catalyst for growth.

Over the past five years, post-study, I’ve thought a lot about this story of mine. That heartbreak mobilized me because my reaction to it, thanks to Doug, was to grow in a positive way. Most, unfortunately, have never developed the “positive reaction habit”. As a result, they allow themselves to collapse under the weight of their mistakes, failure and heartbreak. They fall into depression. They put up barriers. They devolve. That’s bad.

You will make mistakes, you will fail and you will experience heartbreak. But how you react to those emotional events is what will separate you from everyone else in life. Will you react negatively and devolve? Or will you react positively and evolve? Only you can choose how you react to emotional pain. You must make a habit of reacting positively to emotional pain in order to grow and evolve.


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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit, Money.com, India TV, News.com Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money, SUCCESS.com, Inc.com, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider, Credit.com, Bankrate.com and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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