Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
We often personalize our problems. We claim them and make them our identity.
I am __________ fill in the blank. Broke, stressed, heartbroken, hungry, betrayed, angry, etc. There is an important dividing line we must pull from modern psychology before diving deep into reaction.
There is the problem.–There is our reaction to it.
The thing, whatever it is, can be isolated. We control our reaction and this post will look at that part of the equation.
Two Questions to Transform Adversity
1-Who is this happening for?
Life has purpose. The shocks, the downturns, the unexpected changes all have meaning. Some of the richest people in the world grew wealth in the midst of the Great Depression by knowing how to handle fear and instability.
Step back, take a second and try to find the meaning. Try to go as deep as you can to understand what can be helped, who can learn from this, and how can it be moved to an asset.
The harder the situation the more resolve developed. The deeper the pain, the clearer the mirror when you look back on it.
2-How can this benefit someone else?
Ryan Holiday, in his excellent book The Obstacle is the Way, mentions this as a prime skill to handle problems. People need to hear your story. They need to know where you are coming from. They may be going through the same thing.
You may help someone see they are not alone.
The idea could be the first shard of hope they find in life.
Adversity breeds resilience if we take the time to frame it correctly. Don’t get mired in the pain and struggle. Shift your mindset to helping others and unlock the potential of the situation.
You’ll find community, hope, love and acceptance. You’ll see others, and yourself, as better and the weight of the pain will shift.
It may take years to leave, but ask Martin Luther King Jr. Jail cells can’t hold the spirit. Letters can move through bars.
Freedom is a state of mind and its spark can be seen in the midst of the darkest midnight.