Current State of Affairs
“Adversity” has a very negative connotation these days.
“If you don’t like your job, then you need to quit.”
“If you didn’t make the team, maybe this sport isn’t for you.”
“If you’re struggling in this relationship, there are other fish in the sea…maybe try looking elsewhere.”
Do any of these phrases or scenarios sound familiar to you? Have close friends, or even relatives given you this kind of advice? It is a very common occurrence in today’s society. Why is that? And is it effective to follow this advice? Sometimes we do need to jump ship and try something new, but more times than not, we quit too early. In today’s technological era, any source of information we want is at our fingertips, there is no struggle, there is very little effort put into a quest for knowledge, it is just “there” whenever we need it…but that isn’t always the case in life. We’ve become accustomed to getting what we want NOW, but the road is rarely short or smooth in accomplishing great endeavors. Getting a job promotion, making varsity, getting all A’s during a semester, whatever that goal is that makes you stretch will most likely not be an easy road (and if it is, perhaps you need to be aiming a little higher to see what your true potential is…)
The worthwhile goals are going to come with adversity. You are going to be met with temporary setbacks. You are going to fall and skin your knees. You may even give it your all and come up short! What then? Google or our smartphones do not have the answers in those situation, no matter how fast they move. It’s gut check time in those moments, where we have to differentiate ourselves from the crowd, and realize this current moment, and this journey may not be convenient, or fast, or even enjoyable at times…but if we stick with it, it could be worth it. Adversity is not our enemy, we have to view it with the proper mindset and realize it can actually be a powerful teacher.
The ideal scenario
Here is a hard truth: you will never outrun adversity. You have to accept its presence, there may be times of comfort, which we should all enjoy, but we have to be ready for adversity when it rears its head.
So if we can’t escape it, how can adversity help us, what can we possibly take from a failure or not getting what we want?
I was a 300m hurdler in high school, with high hopes of becoming a state champion. I broke my arm my freshman year the first meet tripping over a hurdle, sacrificing a whole season in the process. Adversity hit hard that day. I tripped because I became tired, and I learned from that adverse moment that if I want to keep progressing, I’m going to have to get into better shape. I ran cross country the next two year and improved my fitness, catapulting me through the ranks to be the state favorite my junior year. As I eyed a state championship, leading the race with 100 meters to go, I clipped my trail leg on the hurdle, going from first to last in a matter of seconds, unable to finish my race and falling devastatingly short of my goal in the process. I had tasted my dream, and it was shattered with one technical mistake.
With one final attempt remaining my senior year, I learned from my second fall, honing my technique with drill after drill after drill until I was like a machine. No one could compete with my conditioning combined with my hurdle prowess that year, because I had put in the work. Without adversity however, I would have never known just how much work was needed to allow me to win my senior year! Adversity was my greatest teacher, and I accepted its lessons to allow me to become better instead of steering me away from an event I was destined to be great at.
We have to learn from our mistakes! Fight through adversity, come up with ways to survive and outlast it, and you will come out the other side a stronger product. If we quit however, we risk becoming weaker. Adversity is a building block! Accept it, conquer it, and grow!
Boost solves this by
- Accepting adversity’s presence
- Teaching mindfulness to overcome adversity
- Thought stopping to learn from adversity
- Promoting self-esteem to endure adversity in the moment