Geoff Thompson 10 min read

A True Story About Adversity, Violence, and the Importance of Role Models

Self Improvement adversity geoff thompson

Geoff Thompson
Geoff Thompson

This letter was sent to Geoff Thompson, a regular HighExistence writer, and we want to share it with you.

It’s beautifully written, raw, and inspirational.

Everyone has to face adversity, it’s just part of life. We have to accept that at some point during our existence, we will have turmoil hitting us smack-bang in the face and on more than one occasion.

Facing difficulty head-on and overcoming it is how we grow, how we gain strength and wisdom. Each time adversity hoists its ugly head and shrieks, “Hey you! I’m back with a vengeance,” we have to dig into our reserves and meet it half way. If we don’t, the task is much harder to deal with.

How we embark upon dealing with difficult situations is something that can make-us-or-break-us. If negativity moves stealthily into your mind at the vital point and you don’t recognize or cope with the symptoms, then you’ve lost. You’ll be on life’s own helter-skelter, plummeting headfirst on a spiral to the point of no return. This can take you to depths of despair, which you never thought existed, pain that you thought you’d never endure, and depression, which, once there, is extremely hard to fight.

In the short time I’ve lived on this magnificent planet, adversity has become my constant companion. It pursues me wherever I go. As a child I was bullied, both physically and mentally, but although the physical scars disappeared the mental disfigurement remains. Years of being told you’re worthless and being tormented with ruthless words gave me an abstract childhood.

Unearthing shortcuts was my forte as a child. I resembled a London Taxi Driver learning the ‘Knowledge’. I’d spend hours searching out new routes to get to my safe house, memorizing every single street and ally. Wherever I was at any time, I knew I could get home by the shortest route, unscathed. If I sit and think about my school days, I can still hear the echoes of abuse.

What I found most arduous during childhood was deciding on what I wanted to do after leaving school. I knew I wanted to write for a living, but being persecuted by haters kept my writing career a dream rather than a goal. I couldn’t share this with my teachers or so-called friends; I would have never lived it down.

Encouragement was in short supply and if I would have opened up the other kids would have bullied me more.

My teenage years weren’t much better. I became trapped in a dead end job, which I loathed. I worked with people who hated it just as much, but they’d never leave; ‘It’s a job for life’ they said. They bellyached about the work and gossip mongered about people behind their backs and then socialized with them by night.

This was where I first encountered bullying in the workplace. It was identical to being at school except you didn’t get the kicking at the end of the day. Being so young and naive, I thought this was my lot. It didn’t matter how much I complained, no one listened.

By the time I was 22-years-old I was married. I had the mortgage, HP payments and everything else that went along with it. One year later I became a parent, and although this was the greatest thing to have happened to me, I realised for the first time I’d let my existence be dictated by my childhood troubles. And now, I felt like I’d just woken up.

A year later I was out of a job, I’d been sacked. I was accused of theft and even though the accusation was unfounded, I couldn’t prove my innocence. It was ironic that the manager sacked me made pilfering from work his hobby; it was common knowledge. I don’t think knocking him out helped my situation but hey! I was out of there anyway…

As I walked out (escorted out actually) through the gates for the last time, I had mixed emotions. Relief was one of them closely followed by fear. How could I keep up the repayments on the mortgage and the HP? How would I feed my family? Now the ressure was on. Eventually we had to sell the house to clear our problems; homelessness was imminent.

For four months we lived in a damp, decaying room that was 12ft by 16ft. This lovely place consisted of one flea-ridden bed, an electric fire that didn’t work and windows with cracks wide enough to place your fingers through. I was at the depths of despair.

At that time we’d fallen out with family, friends turned their backs on us, and we had no one to help; we were alone. We became the scum of the earth. If you’ve ever been homeless, then you know how I felt. To live in a scruffy bedsit where you fear for the safety of your family is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

The thought of walking the streets with a baby is horrific. Having to be out of your room by 10am, walking the streets for 12 hours before being allowed back into your hellhole kills your faith in life. After the worst four months of my life, we were given a flat in one of the most unpleasant areas in Nottingham. By now had another child on the way. For 18 months we had to contend with disorder and mayhem. Arson attacks and burglary, drug raids and muggings became the normal.

The only way to survive during our time there was to keep our heads down. The distinctive smell of burning furniture kept me awake night after night. I was terrified to close my eyes in case our flat was the next to go up in smoke; it made me a nervous wreck.

I suspected everyone and trusted no one.

A year and half later we moved to a lovely area. The next six years had seen the arrival of my third child and me scrapping my life back together. I took work as a milkman, a confectioner and then, later, a chef.

Working unspeakable hours week-in-week-out was wearing me down. I was in a marriage that wasn’t working and hadn’t been for years. In October 1997 I had a break down.

Only after contemplating suicide did I end up having therapy for serious depression. I took tablets to keep me awake and put me to sleep. I was on ‘Cloud Nine’ most of the time, completely out it.

My marriage was over and my divorce was proceeding. So now while I was having therapy I was also having to contend with being a single parent to three wonderful children. My now ex-wife left us all and I had to finish work to look after the kids. I had a mortgage, debt, and no job; I could’t believe the situation I was in again.

After 18 months of counseling I was getting my life back together. Still enjoying being a single parent but the most important thing was I had set my writing career in motion. I knew this was the right direction to take. It was what I had to do with my life; I knew this from being a child. So I set about becoming an improved writer.

By January 2000, I had met someone else. It was my sister’s best friend. Her marriage had broken down the same time as mine. I’d been keen on her for ages and in-fact had gone to her wedding with my ex-wife. Unbeknownst to me she’d loved me for years, so it was just a natural progression for us to get together and eventually marry.

This is when the shit hit the proverbial fan.

Now my ex-wife wanted it all back, the kids and the house. Her life hadn’t improved so she took me to court for custody of the children twice within an eight month period. Fortunately for me after months of fighting in and out of court, I won both times. It cost me well over £6000 ($9,700) but I had no choice, I would just have to get by.

I was at an all time low during my second custody case and this is when I came across Geoff Thompson. I’d bought a fitness magazine (don’t ask me why) and there was an article about this man who through adversity, had become a successful writer. I read it with immense enthusiasm and by the end of the article I was in tears. I was crying over a man (who I’d never heard of) because I was so happy for him. It also gave me great solace knowing that I wasn’t alone. He’d been through some of the same issues I had encountered but even though he faced adversity, he made his dream a reality. I had to follow in his footsteps.

At the end of the article, he advertised his new book ‘Watch My Back’. I went out that afternoon and bought it. It wasn’t supposed to be on sale till the Monday but the sales assistant agreed to let me buy it early (nothing to do with me having him in a headlock). I also found out that three weeks later Geoff would be doing a book signing in my local bookshop, so I purchased a ticket.

That afternoon I began to read the book and by the following Wednesday I’d finished it. I was overwhelmed with pleasure and couldn’t wait to meet him. That’s when fear kicked in, the thought of actually meeting Geoff terrified me. I had this stupid notion of writing him a letter explaining my life so far.

For the next three weeks I wrote letter after letter each time throwing them in the bin. What right did I have to thrust my sad life upon this author. Why did I feel he’d actually be interested in me?

It was the day of the book signing and I was still unsure about going. By late afternoon I decided that if I was to change my life for the better then I had to make it happen, so I wrote the masterpiece.

That night I could have shit myself on the way there. Fear and adrenalin rushed through by body. Eventually he came in. He seemed such a nice man. He answered everyone’s questions. After he’d finished I plucked up the courage to talk to him. I handed over the letter and my book for him to sign, I felt like a lost little boy. He gave me a hug and I knew I had to get out of that place quick. I bought two more of his books on the way out and made a fast exit.

On the way back to the car I was very emotional again (sorry I can’t help it). I was so proud of myself, I felt I’d achieved something. A couple of weeks later I received a lovely letter form Geoff. Full of praise and enthusiasm for what I’d been through and for the fact I wanted to write. Since then we’ve kept in touch and he’s been a great inspiration. His books have equipped me with knowledge, prompting me to adopt his own successful attitude towards life. Turning negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones. He is a great inspiration to anyone who wants to succeed. It doesn’t have to be writing but whatever your dreams consist of, they can come true. Like Geoff said:

‘You can be whomever you want to be, you just have to go out and make it happen.’

Let me tell you, negativity destroys you. It sucks every last drop of life from your soul and screws you up. Everything that you do or say will be riddled with negativity and you become one of life’s losers. Before you try anything you will have already decided that it won’t work, so inevitably you fail. Then when you do fail you say ‘I told you so; I knew it wouldn‘t work’. It’s a vicious circle of ‘attempt and fail and fail to attempt’ time after time. The thing is, you’re the only one who decides if you succeed or not: not your partner, your boss, the next door neighbour, or even Geoff Thompson… Just YOU!

The key to success is being positive in everything you do or say. On a daily basis, say something positive. Don’t say it because I told you so, say it because you truly believe it. Don’t wait for providence to knock on your door and hand success over, it needs to be worked at, you have to create it, almost sculpt it out of nothing. Then and only then will you accomplish your deepest dreams and make them reality.

I’ve been through a high level of adversity. For years I blamed everyone for the trouble I’d encountered. I was never to blame for the shit life I had. My parents were great and I had a good upbringing but outside this comfort zone my life was hell. I blamed the teachers and kids at school for my grades not being as good as I knew they could. I blamed the people at work for making my life a misery and keeping me there. I hated everything and everyone in that warehouse. I even blamed the council for shoving me in that hellhole when I was homeless.

Now I see things differently, I was to blame, not any of the above, just me. I had every opportunity to change my life time and time again but I decided not to. So, the first rule of thumb is, stop looking for excuses not to move forward with you life. If you stop this, then doors will open for you and success will be within your grasp. I guarantee, do this and your life will change.

I still have to face adversity but the difference now is, I know how to handle it. Most of the time I’m overflowing with confidence, energy and enthusiasm, and when I’m like this nothing can stop me. Other times I become jaded, disheartened, and very unfocused. I’ve learnt that this is natural so you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

The answer is knowing how to handle this situation, how to pick yourself up and recoup that go-getting attitude. This is all down to motivation so surround yourself with positive things. It can be pictures, books, videos, in-fact anything that motivates you getting back on track. I also realise that It’s a ‘Catch 22’ scenario. You feel worn-out, fed-up and un-fit, but if you went to the gym you’d become alive and awake, only you can’t be bothered to walk there. You have to walk there. You have to motivate yourself otherwise, you stop where you are and life becomes boring again. Make the effort, become inspired and become the person you dream of.

I highly recommend you read Geoff Thompson’s heartening words. Also watch his new powerful video ‘Know Fear’. It gives a personal insight into Geoff’s journey from a life of hostility and bloodshed to becoming an encouraging and motivating figure. You meet his friends as they successfully pursue life-changing challenges. See how other’s became aware of their own fears and how they became skilled at the art of control. The whole video is brimming with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. It’s an upbeat, powerful guide that will enhance your understanding of fear and motivation. If you need one invaluable source of inspiration then ‘Know Fear’ is the video to buy.

Read this: Geoff Thompson's Book Collection

If it wasn’t for Geoff’s books and videos, I’d still be that little boy who was bullied at school, who kept his ambition of becoming a writer a dream; now my dream is a reality and I made it happen.

Befriend Geoff Thompson on Facebook here.

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