The Upside of Adversity

Is it just me or are we now living in a society that seems to indulge itself in easy. We glamourise talent, give our kids awards just for participating, want everything to come naturally and believe a good life is one that is all just smooth sailing.

But I don’t agree. When you seek out easy, you build no immunity to hardship. You only have to watch the nightly news to see you cannot control everything, that in life hardship occurs and you need to be able to deal with it.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t read about a struggling veteran, homeless or without purpose in life. It’s not that I don’t think their struggle isn’t real. I know full well the obstacles they have faced. Mistakes on the battlefield, injury, divorce, separation from my children and financial hardship. I’ve faced them too.

The difference?
I focus on developing from a life of hardship and I simply refuse to let difficulty beat me.

Maybe its sheer stubbornness and tenacity. If I get knocked down nine times, I will get up ten.
Maybe it was engrained into me during my Special Forces training with a culture of not being afraid of failure and endless hours of deliberate practice.
Maybe it is my “post traumatic growth” the experts talk about.
Maybe I strive to make the most out of life because I have witnessed adversity firsthand?
Maybe it’s all of the above.

I know I have made mistakes that almost got me killed and I believe I have avoided death a few times. Saddling up and getting out there when you know it could kill you regardless of how good your performance is makes you accept the things outside your control. And while that includes accepting death, it also means valuing life. Fear for your life over a prolonged time period like a combat veteran does and you gain a calm awareness that allows you to fully commit to each day. You develop a drive and motivation to train, learn, gain experience and improve.

The point is,

In life, it’s not how you succeed, it’s how you fail.

No matter how skilled or seasoned or resilient, life will sometimes fight you and try to defeat you.
When you have setbacks or failures do not overreact.
Do not let them throw you off course and destroy your optimism.
Remove the emotion, step back and evaluate.
Find the lesson and learn from the experience.
Actively strive to improve yourself and your situation.
And have fun while you do it.
 
To quote one of my favourite sayings:
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee

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