Losing sucks. I don’t want to spend time with anyone who enjoys losing, and I can’t say I would want to spend much time with someone who tolerates losing either. Failing, losing, sucking at something (be it golf, tennis, or baking; all of which I do suck at) – I hate them all.
So why title a blog post “the beauty of adversity”? Well my friends, it’s really quite simple. Whether you believe in God, Allah, the Divine power of the Universe, or any other holy deity or power larger than ourselves – the fact is there is something greater at work than the ecosystem of home, work, family, friends, play, and volunteerism that we see every day. I believe that most people, given a decent upbringing and a fair shot- can become intelligent and hard-working and that they can go on to contribute something to the world. And I also believe that 100% of us will stumble along the way, fail (more than once), be tempted to quit, and be frustrated many times throughout the journey.
I know that some of us will chase the wrong dream; either because we’re afraid to chase what we are truly passionate about, or because we think that following the yellow brick road is what we are supposed to do.
Whether due to our relative naiveté (in the grand scheme of things), or due to our stubbornness that results from working so hard, I believe that we sometimes need a gentle shove to see a different perspective. Other times, we need a massive kick in the ass.
Vernon Law said it best, “experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”
Law’s brilliant quote is at the heart of why I say there is beauty in adversity.
If you can take the challenge, the adversity, the ass-kicking that life is handing you…
If you can do that and not quit…
If you can look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about whether or not you gave your best shot, and then look in your heart to find the strength to give it one more shot…
If you can struggle through the ups and downs and the ugliness (if not terror) that is the process…
THEN YOU DESERVE THE BEAUTIFUL RESULTS!
In my life, being bullied as a youth led me to the strength to stand up for myself and for others.
Nearly breaking my neck in football led me away from a path that didn’t have much of a future left and into a career I was passionate about for 18 years.
Failing in my job at the end of those 18 years led me to rethink what I was passionate about which led me into a whole new career I am even MORE passionate about!
Hitting rock bottom, being broke, homeless for a month, and having no goals to look forward to led me to set some goals and eventually a full blown encyclopedia of a bucket list, a portion of which was published through newspapers nationally to inspire others to write theirs!
Being dumped by a girl I was set on marrying made me re-evaluate what a relationship should be, what I put into it, and what I should expect from the other person; all of which I needed to learn or I wouldn’t have the wonderful wife that I do today.
In short, all of my greatest failures and most trying challenges in life have led me to my greatest victories.
Is it fair? No. Does that matter? No. Your challenge – the very thing you are hating and wishing would go away at the snap of your fingers – is trying to teach you something, and it is trying to shape you into who and what you need to be.
Human nature is such that we will tend to get comfortable which is a stone’s throw from complacent and lazy.
I know that you are smart enough to realize that a life of leisure and laziness will not produce profound abundance for you, nor will it help others. From that very simple understanding, it isn’t much of a stretch to realize that the more you put into life, the more you get out of it. Have you ever considered that there may be a flip side to that coin? That the more life puts into you, the more life gets out of you?
Well there, my friends, is the kicker. Life wants you to show up big and make the world a better place through your gifts. You may not be playing on a big enough scale, and so life is going to hammer away until you are chiseled into the tool that life [God/ Universe/ etc] needs you to be.
It is a beautiful concept, and while we may not sign up for the process willingly, we never regret the results of self-betterment.
I hope that your life has at least enough adversity to create as much beauty as you can handle. And if you’re going through that beauty right now, what are you learning? How are you being shaped, and what are you supposed to be shaped into? Those are much more useful questions than ‘why me?’ or ‘when will this end?’