Consumer Power Newsletter – Dealing With Adversity


Good morning,

I hope your week is going well. I received a lot of good feedback on the video last week – everyone that wrote in said they liked it. One person said my head was too big which reminded me of the Seinfeld episode (the “Andrea Doria” episode) where everyone kept saying Elaine’s head was so large.

I don’t think my head is too out of whack with my body – but I have taken the good advice and moved the camera a bit further away. 🙂

Speaking of video, here is this week’s video.



So I took this negative – having the camera too close – and turned it into (hopefully!) a positive. Let’s talk about this today for a moment . . .

We all face adversity in life but I read a quote years ago that has stayed with me and really has been helpful as I go through difficult times. It’s from Napoleon Hill and it goes like this:

Within every adversity, there is a seed of an equal or greater benefit.

The idea is that in every tragedy or difficult time, somewhere (and sometimes its hidden really well!) is something that will turn out for our benefit.

It can be something major – loss of a job or a broken relationship . . . this is bad but it leads to a better job or better relationship. You know the expression – we look back and say “Wow, that was a blessing in disguise.”

Or it can be a more minor issue.

I’m not saying it is always true or easy – I understand from years of representing families who have lost loved ones through some company’s negligence how tough some situations can be . . . but . . . we have to go through these difficult times anyway and if we have the asumption there is some hidden benefit, then we very often will find it.

OK – what in the world does this have to do with our newsletter on consumer issues?

Well, it applies to most situations our clients find themselves in . . . Facing some difficulty and having the choice to make – do we just wallow in self pity or do we find some way to turn this bad situation into a good one?

You are dealing with an abusive debt collector. One that calls your family members. Calls your neighbors. “Blows up your cell phone” with multiple calls a day. It’s affecting your job – your mood – your work.

Bad situation? Absolutely. Is there a hidden benefit? Perhaps.

Maybe you reach the threshold and say “Never again will I be put in this situation where I have collectors calling.”

Maybe you can sue the collector and receive compensation. That compensation allows you to pay off some debt.

Or like one client I had who owed no-one in the world but had a collector that would not take him off an auto dialer (robo calls) after he repeatedly told the collection agency they had the wrong person.

He finally sued because it was the only way to make the calls stop. He didn’t need the money but I mentioned that obviously that collection agency wanted to give him money and he could take a vaction on them or donate it to charity. The point is – very annoying what he faced but he was able to turn this around and get a benefit out of it.

We have represented over a 100 clients who have been sued by debt buyers. Debt buyers who could not prove they owned the debt or that our clients owed the debt.

Bad situation being sued? Of course. But we won those trials. Now – but not before being sued – now we have a court order that we did not owe the debt buyer any money.

Ahhh…. now we have a benefit “greater than” the adversity.

We take that court order and tell the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) that we do not owe the debt and to get the debt buyer’s account off of our credit report.

Sometimes they would not remove it. Bad? Sure.

But then we sued the debt buyer and the credit reporting agencies. We generally received compensation and we had it removed from our credit reports.

All because of this bad situation of getting sued by a debt buyer and a bad situation of the credit reporting agencies not following the law.

One last example. We get behind on our mortgage payments. We are facing foreclosure. The mortgage company lies to you about what it will take to stop the foreclosure. You believe the lie (who else would know better than the mortgage company?) and because of that you end up with your home foreclosed.

Bad situation – adversity? Absolutely.

But because of the fraud and arrogance of the mortgage company you sue the mortgage company . . . and now facing a fraud jury trial the mortgage company decides to finally treat you with respect and honor.

Now the mortgage company agrees to modify the loan and compensate you for lying to you.

Bad situation you were in? Sure. But now you are in a better situation and you know better how to protect yourself in the future.

I’m not saying every situation turns out like I described above. Sometimes we lose if we are sued. Sometimes we lose when we sue the bad guys. Sometimes our health problems don’t change for the better overnight.

That’s life. But we have to look at the bad situation we are in and say “That stinks . . . but . . . what is the benefit I will find?”

Maybe its simply the life experience.

Maybe it prompts changes in how we handle our money or our health or whatever the case may be but my suggestion to all of us (talking to myself certainly!) is to have the assumption – to suppose – that somewhere we will find that benefit. . . and that benefit will be equal to or even greater than the adversity we are going through.

Or we could just say life is terrible.

Nah – let’s not do that. 🙂

This reminds me of something my father told me when I was a kid – he said “Remember the 50:20 principle.

“What’s that?”

Genesis 50:20 — when Joseph was sold into slavery. Then he became a ruler in Egypt and saved his family – who had sold him into slavery. He said to them ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.'”

A pretty good assumption to have don’t you think?

Have a great weekend and next week I’ll have a shorter newsletter (smile) – this one just kind of grew on me….

Best wishes . . .

John Watts
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