How to build on Adversity

Photo by Sam Mgrdichian on Unsplash

In life, we will come across all sorts of events, challenges and obstacles. Some hurdles are big, some are small, some are solvable, yet others seem insurmountable. How then do we overcome these challenges that seem to get the better of us? The crucial point to note is that in life, many things are beyond our control. What remains within our reach is how we choose to tackle the issues that life throws at us on a regular basis. We can equip ourselves with the right mindset and inner resilience. Focusing on improving things within our power and not fretting on those beyond our grasp.

“Difficulties overcome are opportunities won” — Winston Churchill

Instead of agonizing about life’s problems that comes our way, we need the perspective to recognize that beneath these troubling circumstances lies opportunities for us waiting to be seized. Don’t look at these problems as roadblocks in your way but look at them for what they could be, avenues to turn bad situations into positive outcomes. Perhaps in your line of work, you encountered a challenging boss, micromanaging, demanding, worst of the worst. But instead of pitying yourself and brooding on your predicament, look at the opportunities that lie within. Look at the things you can learn, the good processes to follow, the skills to pick up. Look at the things to avoid, the mistakes that so easily entangle. Look at the type of leader you aspire to be and the type of management style you wish to adopt. Slowly but surely build your resume till your very last day. Do not immediately dismiss a bad situation for what it is but internalize it for what it can help you learn and achieve. Therefore, do not judge a book by its cover nor a situation at face value, not until you see what lies await.

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

“Pray not for easy lives, pray to be stronger men. “ — John F Kennedy.

What lies beneath these obstacles are also paths to strengthen ourselves so that we can defeat these problems instead of being overwhelmed by them. Just as muscles are strengthened through use, we need to train our inner resilience when difficulty arises. We should not immediately concede defeat but nurture our will to fight on. To give it another try. Even when life hits us at our lowest point, do not give up. For “what does not kill you, makes you stronger!”.

“Genius is just persistence in disguise.” — Thomas Edison

One should also practice persistence to pave the way when trouble comes calling. Persistence is not mere tolerance of hardships in life but the endurance of these very hardships with the goal to succeed. In 1878, Thomas Edison was not the only person experimenting with incandescent lights but he was the only one willing to test out 6000 different filaments, including hair from someone’s back. It is his ability to stay the course, to chisel and peg at the obstacle until it is entirely gone that led to his success. Edison did not fail but found 10000 ways to not work. It is this sort of tenacity that propels Edison to push through and continue his journey to fruition even though things may not always seem smooth sailing.

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“Wise men are able to make a fitting use even of their enmities.” — Plutarch

At times, you can also use obstacles against themselves, overcoming them not by attacking but by retreat. Instead of acting yourself, you can use the actions of others against themselves. In the independence for India, Gandhi did not fight at all. The British Empire did all the fighting and yet they lost. The Russians that defeated Napoleon and the Nazis did not fiercely protect their borders but retreated inland and let winter do its work. Sometimes less is more and more is less. Nonaction can be the action itself and we can use these obstacles against themselves.

Art of acquiescence

In life, we may not always get the best of everything but we can make the best of what we have. Similarly, situations do not always proceed the way we expect them to be but we can make the best of what it has to offer. “For it happen when it was meant to happen, I am glad that it did for I will make the best of it.” — Ryan Holiday. Everything happens for a reason and if we can pause for a moment and look beyond the initial difficulty, we may just see the good in our bad circumstances. We would need this sort of Amor Fati (love of fate) attitude to embrace whatever life throws at us. Good or bad, we should learn not to fret on things beyond our control and work on things that we can. We should not look back with regrets nor forward in fear but around with awareness. Accept the things we can’t change and change the things we can.

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

What lies ahead are simple choices, will you let obstacles dictate your path or will you emerge stronger and wiser to defeat them?

I hope you have enjoyed the read today.
Please 👏🏻 and share. Thank you

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