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Learning Through the Yuck!

By Terry L. Brock

“Yuck makes you stronger.” Michael Scott Karpovich

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Frederick Nietzsche

I was talking with a friend the other day who was going through some tough times. She had moved to a new area. She was not doing well in marketing and was even wondering about the job she had. She also had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. In a word, things were looking pretty yucky for her.

Yuck is a slang word for all the bad things that are happening. I looked it up on the net at (great source!) and found a different meaning. “Yukking” it up is often meant as cajoling, having lots of fun and merriment. However, this word, yuck, is often what children (and those that can have fresh childlike minds) use to describe something that is not pleasant, gross or undesirable.

Like is full of this kind of yuck. It hits us from all over. My friend is going through more than just the yuck. With a life-threatening illness she is wondering about all the basics of living life, making it through and more.

As I was talking with her the other day, I realized that this is a learning experience as well. My buddy Michael Scott Karpovich is certified a professional speaker who helps thousands of teenagers and business people by describing how he was able to grow through the abuse he suffered when in high school. The yuck he went through included the dreaded abuse from high school bullies, simply because he was shorter than them and they perceived him as a bit nerdy. His message is that the “Yuck makes you stronger” as you learn to get over it, deal with it and grow beyond your pain.

Life is full of hard times. We all have varying degrees of yuck. Sometimes it is life threatening, like with my friend I mentioned earlier. Sometimes, it is a traffic jam that will force you to be much later than you had hoped. Often it is from other people that are going through their own yuck and either intentionally or unintentionally try to throw off their own yuck onto us.

There is good news in all the yuck. The way life works, we grow when we conquer certain barriers. We don’t learn when things are going fine, we’re sitting back sipping Pina Coladas, relaxing and taking it easy. That is a nice state to be in, but we can’t live there. We grow by dealing with and overcoming barriers and obstacles.

These obstacles hit us regularly. Don’t be surprised when they come. It is just nature’s way of telling us we need to learn another lesson. We have a lot to grow with and learn from as we progress through this planet.

The quote I used from Nietzsche is appropriate here. If something doesn’t kill you, it is going to make you stronger. I’d also add that it will make you wiser. Next time similar yuck comes at you, you’ll be able to either avoid it or handle it with more aplomb.

So, the next time you have major yuck in your life, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” What lesson can you take from this to grow and be more of the person that you want to be? Next time you’re stuck in one of those infuriating traffic jams, use it as a time to listen to quality audio, make important phone calls or just relax. You can’t do anything about the traffic anyway, so why not use it as a time to learn and grow.

If you’re facing much more than traffic congestion, there are deeper lessons to learn. I wish I had a magic cure for people like my friend with the terminal illness. I told her I wish I could offer a pill that would cure. The medical community is making great strides today against lots of diseases. However, we have a long way to go.

In the meantime, we know we can learn from each of these yuck experiences. It is not always easy. And we try to avoid them whenever possible. But when the inevitable happens, your attitude will determine the person that you become.

That learning through the yuck will help to make you a better person. This is what life is all about.

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at

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