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Be Bitter Or Be Better

Every one of us has gone through things in our lives that have tested us. Things that we thought were unfair, criticisms that were not called for, or tragedy that we were not ready for, and after the event were left with our own feelings and emotions and the decision as to how we would let these situations impact our future.

I am always challenged by the life of Nelson Mandela and on his release after 27 years in jail, he said this;

“As I walked out of the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison”.

How often we allow people and situations to dictate the way we feel and define our future, when really it is our choice to react, or respond. Tough times and people have been put their for a reason; to test our commitment and to teach us lessons about ourselves that we would never learn if everything was good.

That doesn’t mean that their behaviour is right, it just means that we are the ones who make the choice as to how we respond and we determine the length of time that the issue impacts us.

Nelson Mandela went on to say;

“During this time I discovered things about myself that had been locked away for years. My passion, my inner strength and burning desire to simply make a difference in the lives of people. It was as if someone had hit me on the head with a hammer and started things working again inside of me”.

So consider me your hammer today – because it just doesn’t matter what people say or do, look for the lessons that they are giving you for free, and grow to be a better person because of them.

Stay positive Optimistic Disturbers because the world needs you!


Des Penny


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”

7 responses to “Be Bitter Or Be Better”

  1. Anna Hinz says:

    Thanks Des
    This is exactly what I needed today! When your a leader people always have an opinion on your work and I’m try to stay open to the message they deliver – today you’ve reminded me of how important that can be!


    • Des Penny says:

      Hi Anna,
      thank you for your response. Hang in there, it is worth it, especially for our own sanity.We have a responsibility to do the very best we can with the right motives and if that is not good enough then probably nothing will be. Keep getting disturbed because while things may not look like they are changing – you are, and that is what counts.

      Regard Des

  2. Kaz Braid says:

    Morning Des

    You know your blog has resonated with me on so many levels…its the Bolt from the Blue that I was seeking.

    I live on the Gold Coast, which whilst a beautiful place has a level of behavioural arrogance that disturbs me on a daily basis.

    For almost three years, I have been trying to make sense of the belligerent and antagonistic things the minority do to this beautiful space, in the name of what they consider to be fun without consequence. I have been trying to change things that are beyond my realm of reason because my values have been threatened.

    That is why your blog has come at the right time. Your words have made me realise that I cannot change the world by myself and trying to do so has only put me in a very negative place, which in effect has changed nothing. Those who continue to do wrong (in my eyes) have not changed by me being in a negative place either. What I have learnt is that no matter what, I have to retain my own values and somehow find a way to rise above those whose values and standards do not match my own and hope that they learn their own lessons from the choices that they make.

    I am looking forward to attending the “Reinventing Yourself” workshop on 31st August in Brisbane…and specifically looking forward to the bit that covers “changing the way that we think”. I know I will benefit greatly from changing the way I think, so that my world is not dominated by a counterproductive negativity that I have allowed to manifest…but rather recognise that I have been given an opportunity to learn a new way of thinking, an opportunity to return to my positive self of old and a great opportunity to spread a positive message in the future.

    Thank you Des. You are my inspiration and I look forward to continually learning from your Optimistic Disturber way of thinking. I think I have always been an Optimistic Disturber, albeit Disturbing in a off kilter way, I just didn’t realise it until you raised the hammer and tapped me on the head.

    Have a great day
    Kaz Braid

    • Des Penny says:

      Hi Kaz, what a fantastic response, thank you. You are right, being an Optimistic Disturber is hard work, but I always put it up against the alternative and I don’t like what I see. Just remember, our best decisions and our best growth periods happen when things are hard work and although we at times think we are not getting through, we are.

      Some people will never get on board, but for our own peace of mind, we have a responsibility to ensure they have all of the facts and options and then the decisions are theirs. I look forward to catching up with you at the Reinventing workshop in Brisbane.

      Keep Disturbing Kaz!

      Cheers Des

  3. Kaz Braid says:

    Morning Des

    Thank you for your response.

    I love a challenge lol and I firmly beleive that being an Optimistic Distuber is what will change the world…eventually.

    I look forward to seeing you and your team on Thursday.

    Have a great day

  4. Edison says:

    WOW. I’m likely to place you on my blogroll. It is a fantastic article

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