Have you ever found yourself staring in the face of adversity?
How did it affect you? What did you see in your reflection? Did you learn something about yourself, others, or the world?
Life brings challenges. Some of them are avoidable, like navigating mud puddles after a rainy day. Others hit us with no warning, like the splash from a passing car speeding through an oily, roadside puddle.
Adversity can be described as hardship, difficulty, or misfortune. It comes from the Latin word adversus, literally meaning “turned against” and figuratively “hostile or unfavorable.”
Many moments in life present these unfavorable, difficult, or even hostile circumstances.
When we face these moments of adversity, we often discover new things about the world, ourselves, and others. We may even come to see failure and struggle as a friend or teacher, but only when we choose to face it.
Adversity brings us face-to-face with our greatest growth opportunities and draws out what lies beneath. This face-off can show us fear and cowardice or strength and courage. Whatever it shows might never be uncovered in prosperity. When things are too easy, we simply don’t have to dig too deep. We aren’t required to test our inner strengths and weaknesses.
If you are somehow able to avoid any sort of adversity, you won’t discover how resilient you really are. As Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” It’s through battling the “rough seas” that we develop the skills to survive life’s “storms.”
In the face of adversity, resilience, or the lack of it, emerges and that helps you find out what you can handle, what you need to work on, and how powerful you can really be.
Fearing failure and avoiding adversity doesn’t just cost you, it could limit your impact in the world too. Consider Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, both had significant failures in life that helped shape their futures and better the lives of millions of people.
Henry Ford’s first two companies went out of business, but those failures spurred him on to find a better way to mass produce affordable cars, which revolutionized the transportation industry.
Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before finally developing a safe, inexpensive, electric light bulb that improved the lives of everyone in the world. In the face of adversity, we may find failure, but we must not give up.
If we run from the difficult, to avoid failure, we may never grow to reach our full potential.
Our struggles shape us in ways that our victories don’t. They often lead to teachable moments that catalyze growth and help us reach higher than we would have without them.
Adversity will come, expect it. Don’t run from it, conquer it. Do the hard things. Take on the challenges. Accept the corrections. You will be stronger for it and be far more likely to succeed in life.
In fact, facing adversity and overcoming obstacles will help shape your character, cultivating grit, which will help you overcome future obstacles, and maximize your potential.
“Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”Stephen Covey
Anyone who has done anything worthwhile in the world has most certainly had to battle through some adversity, it’s often the very thing that brought greatness out of them.
Facing adversity has the potential to make you a better person. It can give you perspective, develop patience, grow empathy, build resilience, cultivate courage, improve confidence and much more.
Next time you find yourself staring in the face of adversity, as yourself, “what can I learn from this?” or “how can this shape me for my future?” Choose to view these moments as growth opportunities and that’s exactly what they will become.