Victim or Victor
By: Bill Bartmann
Two six letter words – they look so much alike, yet have entirely different
meanings. If you happen to fit the description of one of these two words - your
world is a sad, unfair and hopeless place where you feel you have little or no
control over the things that happen to you or around you. If you fit the description
of the other one of these words - your world is full of exciting challenges and
possibilities where you are the master of your own destiny, where tomorrow is
not feared with dread but anticipated with hope and excitement.
These two definitions and the lives of the people who are in one category versus
the other are so extremely different one would wonder why someone would
choose to be a victim rather than choose to be a victor. Choose? Do you mean
we get to make a choice?
Whether we are a victim or a victor is simply a product of one thing...our view of
the circumstances we now face.
If our view of the circumstances we now face is one of sorrow, or anger, or
hopelessness, then we have decided to become a victim. Once we feel sorry for
ourselves, or mad at someone else, or hopeless because of the situation in
which we now find ourselves, we have chosen to become a victim. When we
have chosen to view our situation as one that we didn't cause, was someone
else's fault, one we didn't deserve, and one we can't do anything about, we have
agreed to become a victim.
If instead our view of those same circumstances is one of accepting responsibility
for our own actions, learning from the experience and assessing what we still
have and what we can do about those circumstances, then we have decided to
become a victor.
It is appropriate to feel sorrow, pity or even anger when something bad happens
in our life. Each of these emotions has a value and a utility in helping us deal with
the calamities we face in life. These emotions help us go through the process of
grieving that should follow a major setback or calamity. But grieving is supposed
to be a short term process not a permanent status. When that period of grieving
starts to define who we are, we have allowed it to become a crutch - we have
made a choice. We have decided that we would rather wallow in sorrow and self-
pity and blame others for our predicament. We have chosen to become a victim.
Becoming a victim was a product of a choice, a choice we voluntarily made.
Becoming a victor instead of a victim is also the product of a choice, a choice that
is equally voluntary.
When calamity, tragedy, failure, losses or setbacks occur - yes we should grieve.
We should allow our healthy emotions to run their course. But we should end our
period of grieving as soon as we can. It should be our goal to complete our
grieving quickly - not wallow in it.
We can shorten our grieving period by taking control of the process. Here are
some of the ways in which we can control the process instead of letting the
process control us.
1. We should engage in an honest assessment of what we did or did not do
that contributed to us ending up in this circumstance.
The first step in becoming a Victor instead of a Victim is acknowledging this
circumstance is a result of a decision that we made – and not just something that
“happened to us”.
We are indeed a product of the decisions we make and the decisions we don’t
make. Even when we are affected by a natural disaster of which we had
absolutely no doing, we did make the decision to be in that geographic location at
that particular time.
The people in New Orleans knew they were residing in a city that was nine feet
below sea level and that the Gulf of Mexico was being held back by a levee built
by Government workers.
The people in Southern California know exactly where the San Andrea Fault is
The people in the mid-west didn’t have to watch the Wizard of Oz or “Twister” to
learn that they live in tornado Alley.
Now, does this make any of these people stupid or cavalier? No! They made the
decision to live in a location of their choosing because the positive attributes
outweighed the negative possibilities. But the choice – was their choice.
2. We should endeavor to learn from the experience.
When we are in the midst of experiencing one of these unfortunate
circumstances it is hard to find any value in the experience. Yet, if we look back
at previous calamities that occurred in our past, now, with the passage of time,
we frequently can see the “good that came out of it”. If we honestly reevaluate
each of the worst things that have ever happened to us – most of us can find
something positive that resulted from the experience. As difficult as it is to see
the “good” while we are in the middle of the situation, the sooner we look for it,
the sooner we will find it.
3. We should recognize what we still have - and relish these things.
The easiest and best way to move from Victim to Victor is to look around and
take note of what we still have. During these moments of crisis and calamity it is
so natural to focus on what we have lost, after all, that is what crisis and calamity
are all about. Instead of concentrating on what it is we lost, we should focus our
attention on what we still have.
4. We should commit ourselves to action to remedy (or at least alleviate)
The first step to overcoming a tragedy, loss or failure is to take control of the
situation. As long as we allow the circumstances to control us – rather than the
other way around...we will always be a Victim and not a Victor.
Here are some examples of people who chose to become Victors - not Victims.
A hurricane Katrina survivor (notice I didn't use the media word "victim")
who decided to rebuild bigger and better without blaming the Mayor, the
Governor, FEMA or God.
The mother who had the courage to forgive the man who murdered her
The unwed mother who refused to quit school because her baby needed a
mother with income earning capacity.
The loving husband who lost his wife and life partner of 36 years and who
then dedicated the balance of his life to "making her proud" of him by
getting involved in her favorite charity.
A man who lost his eyesight and then went on to create a television
network for people who were blind.
Each of these people could easily have settled into the role of Victim. If they had
done so, most certainly we would have felt sorry for their situation and offered
our pity. To the credit of these individuals, they did not want our sorrow or our
pity. Nor did they want the title of Victim. Each of them made a simple but
profound choice; they chose not to be a Victim and instead chose to be a Victor.
By choosing to be a Victor, they chose a world full of exciting challenges and
possibilities. They chose to be masters of their own destinies. They chose
tomorrows that would be eagerly anticipated with hope and excitement. They
demonstrated that it was their choice to make. On a regular basis, we too are
presented the choice of being a Victim or a Victor. The question we must ask our
self is “which will I choose?” The answer to that question and the result that will
surely follow is simply up to us.
Bill Bartmann is rapidly becoming the most sought after inspirational/motivational speaker in America and Europe.
Bill is the leading authority on entrepreneurship in America. He has created seven successful businesses in seven
different industries, including a $3.5 billion, 3900 employee international company that he started from his kitchen table
with a $13,000 loan. He has been named National Entrepreneur Of The Year by NASDAQ, USA Today, Merrill Lynch and
the Kauffman Foundation.
Bill is also America's leading authority on Success & Failure. He has been a millionaire 3 times, bankrupt twice and a
billionaire once. He has gone from poverty and welfare to the 25th wealthiest person in America.
Bill can not only tell a good story – Bill has lived a great story. His audiences marvel at his openness, his sincerity and
most of all his personal awareness and understanding of the challenges they face in their lives – as he inspires them to
achieve their dreams.
Bill is the author of “Billionaire Secrets Of Success”. To order your personally autographed copy, go to
WWW.Billbartmann.com Bill is represented by the leading Speaker Bureaus in America – any one of which can make
arrangements to book Bill for your event.