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adversity to advantage: 3 epic stories of transforming life's obstacles into opportunity

Adversity to Advantage: 3 Epic Stories of Transforming Life's Obstacles into Opportunity is written by Napoleon Hill Foundation Certified Instructors  Tim Chhim, Taylor Tagg and myself.

We were interviewed by Peter Goral on Journey To Success Radio to talk about the book.

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Taylor, Tim and I at The Cambodia Science of Success International Conference

The Foreword for the book was written by Judy Williamson, Education Director of The Napoleon Hill Foundation and gives a great description of the book. She wrote:

"I have just finished reading Adversity to Advantage:  Epic Stories of Resilience to Encourage and Inspire by Timothy Chhim, Tom Cunningham, and Taylor Tagg.  I am humbled by the immensity of the suffering that all three have experienced in their lives, and I am impressed by their willingness to share and relate these stories to their readers.  I know each author personally since they have been students of mine.  Many memories exist of them in class and also as speakers.  I have seen each of them struggle emotionally as their stories were told to groups, and how the audience responded.  They share these episodes from their lives not to impress us, but to inspire us to follow in their footsteps because if one of us can learn from their formula for success, we all can.  They write because they love.

Tim Chhim told me his story in a restaurant in Ireland as he sat nearby.  I was stunned and found it hard to imagine that anyone who experienced the inhumanity that he did could be so objective in sharing his thoughts.  I marveled at his comeback and persistence in yet working to better himself.  My thoughts stayed with him in Cambodia as I relived the Vietnam War and its spread to surrounding countries.  It was an ugly time, and I marveled that someone could arrive on the other side of conflict and still be focused on living positively in a free world.  His definiteness of purpose never faltered, and he survived to tell about achieving his goal.  Was he unharmed?  No.  Tim endured and survived with grace intact, and today he uses that grace to share his belief that a better life is achievable if you keep your desire directly in front of your immediate vision.  Tim serves as a lighthouse whose beam can direct others to freedom of body, mind, and spirit.

Tom Cunningham is a person I admire and think about daily since I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, Shane Morand.  Shane himself treasured Tom’s friendship so much that he asked me to consider him for a speaking engagement at our annual Open House for the Napoleon Hill World Learning Center at Purdue University Calumet.  Shane made the introductions and Tom did the rest.  Not only did he show up and present his speech, he showed up driving himself from Canada, and making no excuses about how difficult that must have been for him.  His talk regarding learning from adversity and defeat captivated the audience, and therefore, I never considered not putting him on the platform again and again.  Tom’s natural speaking ability plus his desire to influence and help people who need healing are sincere and the main reasons that people associate the word AMAZING with Tom.  He programs it into everyone’s mind that he is indeed amazing and an advanced practitioner of Dr. Hill’s Science of Success Philosophy.  In physique, Tom may not be “too tall,” but in the eyes of those that love him and support him, he is an amazing giant to behold.  Because Tom shows us that he can, we are caught in his enthusiasm and know that we can too!

I first met Taylor Tagg when he traveled with his Mother to join the Leader Certification Class in Ireland.  Taylor is quiet and contemplative, but never misses a beat as to what is going on around him.  He takes it all in and mulls everything over in his mind prior to seeing if what is being presented works for him or not.  I could sense many inner thoughts and feelings flaring up inside of Taylor as he listened and sometimes discussed his breaking out of a cycle of abuse.  His desire was to share what had happened to him so that others would know how not to become a victim, but a victor on the other side of negative experiences.  Through thinking, discussion, journaling, and writing, Taylor discovered several unique processes that enabled him and now others to travel through fears and “dark nights” to find the benefit in the adversity.  His techniques are excellent examples of how to heal yourself and replace anger and hate, with forgiveness and love.  Taylor has positioned himself as a leader in the process of learning from adversity and defeat.  He teaches us the difference one little seemingly inconsequential word can make in bringing us through the fear that can stop us in our tracks.  Find out how changing only one word can guide us to the place of healing at a peaceful pace.  That, itself, is a kernel of wisdom in his story!

The book is short and can be read at one sitting.  But, the thoughts, comments, and suggestions of all three authors stay with you for a long time.  By reliving Tim’s early life in Cambodia, Tom’s struggles with illness since the age of five, and Taylor’s fears and how he grabbed them both by the tail and never let either go, all reach into our psyches and prepare us to better deal with our life’s adversities.

There is a simple prayer, called the Prayer of St. Francis that comes to mind when I consider the purpose of this book.  It reads as follows:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

--St. Francis of Assisi

I challenge you to read this book with the above prayer in mind, and next see how many times Tim, Tom, and Taylor use the pattern of the above formula in their own healing.  I am certain that you will find multiple examples from each of their stories that will show you explicitly that our authors in both good and bad times sow love, pardon, faith, hope, light, and joy for the purpose of consoling, understanding, and loving those they encounter as the true stepping-stones to enduring peace. 

What better recipe is there than overcoming adversity in making the world a better place in which to live?  Let Tim, Tom, and Taylor lead you to a better way in this process for yourself and others.  I highly recommend this book for the peace and understanding that it will bring to you now and when you may need it the most." 

Judy Williamson

Director:  Napoleon Hill World Learning Center

Purdue University Calumet

Some of our friends in Cambodia

At the Cambodia Science of Success International Conference

testimonials for adversity to advantage

"In the inspiring new book, Adversity To Advantage, from Tom, Taylor, and Timothy you get an up close look at how three men turned intense challenges into inspiration for thousands of others. We will ALL face challenge. Many people will let it stop them and suppress their true inner genius. A few will get stronger from it. Let these three agents of positive change give you the gift of their stories, wisdom, and perspective in this amazing book." – Tony Rubleski, Owner of Mind Capture Group

"Every story I've ever read about a life success has always started with some form of adversity. There are those that resign themselves to letting it hold them back. These three guys chose to stand up and be counted, and created their new and improved lives. Congratulations to Tom Tom Cunningham (too tall), Timothy Chhim and Taylor Tagg on not only making new lives for themselves, but also on sharing their intimate stories with the world in Adversity To Advantage.” – Peter Goral

It's not often you come across a body of work that inspires you to look at life and its offerings all over again. Adversity to Advantage is a wonderfully written motivational book of 3 incredible stories and life experiences that do just that! Get ready to embark on a journey of self discovery, reflection and appreciation of life itself. If you've ever felt as if you've not had a fair chance to succeed in life, then this book is a MUST READ! – Yoni Ashurov, President & CEO of MWR Life

"Tom, Tim, and Taylor have heroically gifted their stories of adversity for the benefit of others. The lessons gained in Adversity To Advantage are priceless." – Jimmy Burgess, Founder of Be More University

"If you are looking for a guidebook on courage, determination and survival, Adversity to Advantage is the book for you. The three authors; Timothy Chhim, Tom Cunningham and Taylor Tagg lay bare before us their amazing, true-life experiences, revealing life's higher purpose. In a day and age when stardom is based on posing for a selfie, this book is a breath of authenticity." – Brad Szollose author of Liquid Leadership

“Beyond doubt, three astonishing true stories that will emotionally move and inspire you. These stories about survival, chronic pain, and abuse prove that anyone can turn Adversity To Advantage if they believe they can.” – Jeremy Rayzor, Co-Founder of Rayzor Sharp Entertainment, Inc.

With our friends from Cambodia at the Cambodia Science of Success International conference

Every person deals with significant adversity in life. No one is exempt. The question becomes how do you use Adversity To Advantage? Authors Tim Chhim, Tom Cunningham, and Taylor Tagg answer this question with three different and thought-provoking perspectives on how to turn life's obstacles into opportunity. Tim's harrowing journey from firing squad to freedom leaves you breathless and excited about achieving your dreams no matter the cost. Tom's path through physical pain gives new meaning to the resiliency of the human spirit and inspires you to redefine the role adversity plays in your life. Taylor's tales of overcoming defeat and fear give you reason to move forward regardless of the circumstances and motivate you to victory utilizing the four questions that turn adversity into advantage every time.