Setback or Setup Part 2

 In Article, Personal Growth

Be Careful What You Ask For?

“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
– Garth Brooks

Setback or setup part 2, written by Paul M Neuberger, your event speaker.
Country music tends to generate strong feelings. Most people, it seems, either love it or loathe it.

Take it from me: Country music contains subtle gems of wisdom. As a keynote presenter and inspirational speaker, I’m always borrowing smart ideas from others.

In “Unanswered Prayers,” country great Garth Brooks – more of a crossover artist, actually – sings about running into an old flame at his hometown football field. His wife is with him. He does the right thing – this is GARTH BROOKS, after all! – and introduces them.

He reminisces. Long ago, he was convinced this love from another lifetime was The One. He asked God to keep them together forever. He promised to never ask for anything else.

Obviously, life went in a different direction. Now, “she wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams,” he sings. Both had changed. The old times were strangely unfamiliar. They couldn’t find much to talk about.

“And as she walked away I looked at my wife. And then and there I thanked the good Lord for the gifts in my life,” Brooks sings.

It all worked out for good ‘ol Garth. He is GARTH BROOKS, after all!

Be like Garth?

Hindsight is always 20-20, right? We can all look back and see bright (and not so bright) decisions we’ve made. At the time we’re deciding, though … not so much.

Garth was probably devastated when he and his long-ago girlfriend split. He might have felt his world come to an end. Rebounding from such a setback can be tremendously difficult.

Amazingly, though – as I wrote about recently – setbacks are often setups for happier, more fruitful days ahead. We can’t know this at the time. Life is full of unpredictable, uncharted paths.

Think about the experiences in life that didn’t go the way you hoped (or expected). How many set you up for something bigger and better? Like Garth, did you meet someone who became your life partner? Maybe discovered an awesome career opportunity? You might be surprised.

Perspective plays a huge role. Life often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you’re cheerful, productive and open-minded, people will be drawn to you. They’ll want to help. Just being kind to others can open untold numbers of doors. Make a good first impression, and the world is yours.

If you’re bitter, feeling victimized, and carrying a 2-ton chip on your shoulder, some people will still accommodate you. They just won’t be ideal partners for success.

No, it’s Not Just Semantics

Having faith that things will happen for you, rather than to you, can reap a windfall of good tidings. Some will call this merely semantics. Not me.

I believe God has a plan. Everyone experiences metaphorical rough seas. Trust Him, and they won’t last. He will calm the raging wind and waters, just as in Matthew 14:32.

What happens when you reach the shore? Like the Apostles, you’ll be led to an existence more meaningful than ever. The setback of being drenched and frightened will set you up for a fulfilling, rewarding life.

If God doesn’t always grant your prayers, maybe – just maybe – it’s because He’s a tad smarter. As Garth Brooks continued to sing, “ … just because He doesn’t answer don’t mean He don’t care.”

Few of us can sing and write songs like Garth. I mean, it’s GARTH BROOKS, after all!

So let’s take him at his word. Roll with the challenging times in life … and always have faith that better times lie ahead.

(Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, Founder/CEO of The Cold Call Coach, and a globe-trotting inspirational keynote speaker. Don’t miss his upcoming three-part webinar series, Paul’s Emergency Sales Kit, filled with timely instruction and advice for salespeople during a challenging period. Or, for an even deeper dive into sales mastery, try Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at or

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