Lesson 120: Reaping success from disadvantage
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/5 ('Loud as a Whisper')


When a deaf alien negotiator loses his telepathic interpreters, he finds that he is unable to continue with the peace negotiations he is conducting.

When Counselor Troi offers to step into the negotiations in his place, the alien negotiator offers her advice by stating that the main tool of negotiations is to always try to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.

Troi, frustrated by the alien's discouraged loss of confidence in himself, challenges him by asking why he cannot turn his new disadvantage of the loss of his interpreters into an advantage and make that his starting point for negotiations.

This gives the alien negotiator an epiphany and leads him to return to the negotiations, solo, without any interpreters.


Turning disadvantages into advantages is an extremely difficult task, mostly because we find it easier to resign ourselves to failure rather than to continually battle to overcome that which appears to be insurmountable.

Just as every coin always has two sides, if we try to find the good in the bad, the positive in the negative, we can actually manage to accomplish the alchemy in the situation.

While the loss of a steady job is seen as a negative, one could use it as an opportunity to explore new areas of growth which may lead to better jobs. Sometimes, the lack of jobs in the market has led to successful entrepreneurial ventures by many who may never have tried to go solo if they had landed another job.

The terrible event of the loss of human lives due to wrong behavior or terminal illness has at times been the impetus for new laws being established to recognize and prevent criminal activities or the creation of new charitable foundations to fund research for cures.

Then there is the one remarkable true story, iconic of this topic.

Once there was a child born into a wealthy family. His father was a doctor. It was naturally presumed that the child too would follow in a similar professional path.

As the child grew up, even though he loved to play soccer, he studied law at the university and wanted to become a successful lawyer.

At the age of 19 he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed.

For 3 years, he underwent convalescence treatment, resigning himself to the fact that his days of soccer playing were over and his studies in law would be severely hampered by being wheel chair bound.

While under medical care, a nurse gave him a guitar.

Soon he learned to play the guitar, write songs and began to receive praise for his singing. Much to the chagrin of his parents, and conversely, the joy for the rest of us, he decided to try a music career.

His name - Julio Iglesias!

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