Overcoming Adversity

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."


Adversity is one of things that all people no matter who they are or how hard they try to avoid them will face. It is very important to become the type of person that uses adversity as an opportunity to learn and grow from. And although we pay a price for this type of education, the value of this kind of instruction can be priceless. Adversity in the form of setbacks or challenges comes in many different ways. Sometimes they occur from without and sometimes from within, sometimes they are outside of our control and sometimes they are a result of our own choices. Often they come when we least expect them but we must always strive to overcome them. This is the sure sign of one who develops perseverance and those who develop perseverance are also those who most often find success. Successful people are hopefully those who we are drawing our inspiration from and are aspiring to become. I realize that the measure of success comes in many forms but one thing to me seems certain that this measure should include a daily goal to improve who we are today from who we were yesterday.


As with all goals, in addition to setting them, we must develop a strategy to attain them. This is no different when it comes to overcoming adversity or setbacks. An important aspect to this process is embracing the situation. To do this we must strive to understand the reality of any situation through both studying the circumstances and being honest with ourselves on where we are in relation to them. For example, an injury to an athlete can be a significant setback and the tendency can be to focus on what they will do when they get back from the injury. But, the reality is that the athlete will be better served to focus on their recovery and the rest they need to maximize their healing. Another aspect of constant improvement which is essential is our attitude. What I often mention to my students is to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I remind them that it is important that when we wake up every morning, we remember to be thankful for the opportunity to be better today than we were yesterday. From this attitude comes an excitement which breeds a positive energy where we can draw a source of strength to overcome any of the challenges in which we may find ourselves. From my experience it is better to learn how to overcome adversity rather than avoiding or just trying eliminate it. It is this very learning that creates the opportunity for improvement. For as it is said we do not succeed despite our challenges but rather we succeed because of our challenges. I might add that part of this learning process is also learning to mitigate future setbacks through decisions that we remain in control of.


With this last sentence, we must also become aware that we are not in control of everything. This is where honesty first and foremost with ourselves can be important. I often remind my students on this subject to focus on the variables that we can control. For example, we may not always be the fastest, strongest, smartest person in the room but we can always set the goal to be the hardest working and kindest person in the room. Nothing can ever stop us from setting this goal(I might add here that we can also set goals to improve our speed, strength, and intelligence). We cannot always control who or what our challenges or our adversity will be but we can control how we prepare and how we react to these. We may not always be at our best but we can control our ability to enjoy the process and appreciate the opportunities. Part of this process should also be the envisioning of ourselves performing in important moments with character, resilience, creativity, and with the courage of our convictions. All of which grow through our perseverance in the face of adversity. We don't have to always like this process but we must believe in it and embrace it as vital to our growth to our own greatness. Our own greatness being in the maximizing of our own individual potential through the process of our constant improvement as we mentioned earlier not despite our challenges but because of them.


In conclusion, adversity is one of the most powerful forces in life. It can bring out your best or your worst. Ultimately, this is up to you. How will you handle these obstacles? Will they be roadblocks or springboards? Will adversity turn your focus from getter better to getting bitter? Or will you see adversity-laced setbacks as true gifts and growth accelerators that provide the opportunity to believe in yourself, revitalize your commitment to what you want to achieve, and reassess what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen?


We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4: 8 - 9


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