Category: Success


Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt

Porcupines have always elicited uncomfortable feelings in my mind! I have watched them walk at zoos, and since I was a young child I decided I never wanted to have an encounter with a porcupine. They are so intimidating!

Relating to prickly people and bad circumstances in life is a lot like dealing with porcupines. Maybe you are one to someone out there, know of someone, live with one or you are just facing a prickly situation in your life.
Here is the profile of the “porcupine” type of person or situation you may be facing:

• They are hard to embrace. They make you feel like walking away. No warmth, no intimate feelings!
• They poke you. They poke your ideas. They poke your enthusiasm. They poke your creativity. They poke your love. They poke your romanticism. They poke your fascination and curiosity. They poke your purpose and drive for a goal. They poke anything that resembles life and passion.
• “Porcupines” types tend to be loners. They won’t help you “become” anything. They will grudgingly help you if you ask them for assistance or it will take them forever to help you with a request. They are just not “into you”! Don’t expect encouragement or motivation from them.
• Since they are not “into you,” they will not help you resolve a conflict you may have with them. They will attack you if you want to resolve a conflict. There is no logic, reason or rhythm. It usually ends up being about you, not them, or “us.”
• They will seldom say, “I am sorry!” They don’t see themselves as players with you.

• “Porcupines” are negative and “needy” by nature. They are critical, and their natural first response to anything you bring up is “no”! They see the negative side of everything. Because they are into self, they may become affirming if YOU make them feel really comfortable. (Great chance for you to deal with your own selfishness, right?)

Here is my take on relating to the “porcupine” type of person or a situation that resembles a “porcupine.”
I know it’s hard to bloom around “porcupines”! (Your enthusiasm gets blown away)
It is hard to dance with “porcupines.” (There is no partnership)
It’s hard to love a “porcupine.” (Intimacy and a sense of belonging)
It’s difficult to just relax and have a good time with a “porcupine.” (Too much competitiveness to relax and have fun)
I understand. But you can be strategic about “porcupines” and actually use their presence in your life to grow and become the STAR quality kind of person you were meant to be. Here is how:
• Make sure you have defined your purpose, direction, goals and the compass of your life. “Porcupines” will push you to define your destination if you have refused to do it on your own. Most people define their role in a negative way. Like, “how can I get rid of this person?” Then divorce, the breaking of the relationship or avoidance follows. You can actually use their presence in your life to ask yourself the question of all questions: “What’s my purpose in this life? What am I here for? What’s my purpose in this person’s life?” In the second that took you to ask that question you suddenly jumped into a quantum moment: It’s not about you any longer! Get it? It’s a magnificently powerful strategy!
• Be yourself in spite of their toxic comments, behavior or attitudes. Always be yourself! Don’t let them intimidate you.
• Listen to them. They will tell you what your friends will never tell you. They are heartless. “Swallow the bitter pill” knowing that your pride will suffer a beating but at the end you will be better if you absorb what you can use from their response to you

• Always look at a "porcupine" in the eye, figuratively speaking. Don't run away from them. They will follow you.
• Understand that they will test your determination without intending to. Use their presence, words and behavior like the wind to mobilize your sails. Learn to sail! Learn the strategy to use the wind for your benefit instead of analyzing the wind and deciding how to protect yourself from it!
• Let them stimulate your creativity and keep sailing.
• Let their presence in your life make you stronger in your inner world. You are what you believe!
• Use the experience with “porcupines” to learn how to “shut up” and be kind to someone you are not comfortable with. Most people, except “politicians,” don’t know how to be nice to a toxic, prickly person!
• Use “porcupine” types as a preview of what others may think and not tell you. There are a lot of “caustic-passive” people that will never tell you what they think about you and your ideas. The “porcupine” type will tell you before you even ask! Take advantage and get ahead of the game. “Porcupines” are very helpful in giving you “negative hints” as you start a new venture, getting married, or making an adventuresome move. (Use their negative hints to see what others don't see) Remember, most people who support your good and bad moves (the nice type) are not around to help you out when you are in trouble. And that is the truth! Say what you may about “porcupines” they are passionate about “poking” you! Your goal would be to find equally passionate people that will affirm your life and love you positively. If you don’t have those people look for them and nurture those relationships like your life depends on it!
• Love the “porcupine.” Yes, love them! Love is not always a feeling. Many times it’s just action! Listening and showing appreciation without expecting anything from them is the best way to love them. They are lonely, hurt people wearing a mask. Though they may never say it, you may actually impact their lives in an unpredictable way. I remember of someone many years ago that was distinctively a “porcupine.” He literally put me through “hell.” I decided to treat him with respect and be myself in spite of his caustic responses to me. Years later at his funeral I heard from his wife how I had impacted his life. I would have never imagined it!

You were meant to be a STAR in God’s Universe! Set your eyes in becoming a successful person. Find the purpose of your life and live it out! No one should control the outcome of anything in your life except YOU!
People and circumstances can serve as stumbling blocks or stepping stones. For the weak of character and convictions, “porcupines” are usually stumbling blocks. Their dreams, hopes and aspirations end there, destroyed and terminally poked by the “porcupine.”
For the brave, for the one that seeks authentic success, for the purposeful person, the “porcupines” of life ALWAYS become stepping stones to success and renewal. Washington Irving once said, “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”
Here are some examples of people who faced “porcupines” and used them to advance their ultimate success in life. They all became STAR quality people.
• John Milton wrote Paradise Lost 16 years after losing his eyesight.
• 27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
• Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. And this to the sister of one of his friends for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn’t stop him from completing over 800 paintings.
• Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered “nonsense.”
• Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
• When Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the pronouncement, “What use could this company make of an electrical toy.”
• Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.
• R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.
• Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
• Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.

Okay! So much for “porcupines,” difficult people, painful circumstances and challenges. Do you get the picture? You can become the STAR quality person you were meant to be if you chose to use the stumbling blocks of your life as stepping stones for growth and success!

Author's Bio: 

Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt is co-founder of the "LIFE ZONE." Harold is a consultant, a seminar speaker and a LIFE Motivational Coach. The "LIFE ZONE" is a resource and a coaching center for personal and spiritual growth committed to providing sound strategies for dynamic living and LIFE FITNESS. Harold believes that PAIN is the greatest window into the best life has to offer! PAIN is never pleasant, it's never fun; but great people have always faced PAIN and difficult times before they found the key to a magnificent life. Harold resides in Southern California and is the father of four wonderful human beings! For more information and coaching visit:
or call 1-888-MYZONE2 (699-6632)