Making the Best of the Worst

Photo credit: Volker Schnabele

I have no doubt bad things happen to good people. In my mind the question is not “Why did this happen?” but “What can I do to make the situation better?” The American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, Scott Hamilton, has several answers in the following videos and in his book.

According, Scott Hamilton “won four consecutive U.S. championships (1981–1984), four consecutive World Championships (1981–1984) and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. His ‘signature move’ was a back flip, a feat that few other figure skaters could perform. Even though it generally earned him no extra points, he would make sure to include it in his routine in order to please his fans.” Hamilton battled cancer, a brain tumor, and an aneurysm. I believe the following video documents his 1994 performance which, by the way, was the same year in which he was diagnosed with a brain injury.

Hamilton was recently interviewed about his book and his attitude in the following video. One of his comments that I found most interesting is his belief that it is possible to train your mind to think of everything in a positive way.

The Great Eight

Thankfully Hamilton survived the life-threatening injuries and wrote a book, The Great Eight, in which he “uses stories from his life to illustrate the principles that have shaped his life.” Each of the following eight chapters in the book reveals a valuable lesson:

  1. Fall, Get Up, and Land Your First Jumps
  2. Trust Your Almighty Coach
  3. Make Your Losses Your Wins
  4. Keep the Ice Clear
  5. Think Positive, Laugh, and Smile Like Kristi Yamaguchi
  6. Win by Going Last
  7. Learn a New Routine
  8. Stand in the Spotlight


  1. Yes or No: Is it possible to overcome adversity?
  2. Yes or No: Could brain injury survivors learn anything about recovery from The Great Eight?


Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

Thanks to YouTube, Premiere Speakers Bureau, Brian Lord, Scott Hamilton, and the host of other people who created, edited, and distributed the video in this post.


  1. Hi Scott
    This was a great post and a lot can be learned from Scott Hamilton. Sometimes I get stuck in the “just show up” stuff but I’m working in it. Thanks for your wonderful posts–

    1. Cheryl,

      What I find really interesting is the fact that there is something to learn almost everywhere if we keep open minds. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.


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