Sunday, September 20, 2009

Curious about Adversity: Is It True that It Will Make Us Stronger? How Do You Handle It?

Your greatest successes almost invariably come one step beyond your greatest failures, when everything inside you says quit. Think of failures in terms of how you can make them successes.”- Brian Tracy, American writer

Herodotus, the Greek philosopher, said, “Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.”

If you are paying attention to newspapers, radio, TV, and the people you know and love, you are aware that we are facing more adversity than usual. That could be considered negative news, but I have good news for you. Adversity is a gift that can and will turn your life around if you embrace it and derive the many benefits it offers.

Yes, benefits! Here are a few:

  • Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” - Napoleon Hill, American writer and businessman
  • Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” - William A. Ward, American educator
  • There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”- Malcolm X, American activist
  • There is no education like adversity.” - Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman
  • Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” - Zig Ziglar, American motivator and writer
  • Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” W. Clement Stone, American businessman

Just like so many others experienced, this year brought me more of life’s adversity than I usually encounter. Sometimes I felt as though I was being tested. My business suffered cash flow challenges, my car was stolen twice, and my computer and computer programs decided it was time to see how much technical adversity I could handle and overcome.

I found many suggestions for dealing with adversity in the quotations I found:

  • In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” - Lee Iacocca, American businessman
  • Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: 'It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.’” - James Keller, British writer
  • You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.” - Golda Meir, Israeli leader
  • I contend that not only can you laugh at adversity, but it is essential to do so if you are to deal with setbacks without defeat.” - Allen Klein, American businessman
  • In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” - Robert Collier, American businessman
  • Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet

And two gems that I want you to take with you:

Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.” - Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher

Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” - Lou Holtz, American coach

I challenge you to welcome any adversity with open arms. Do let me know how it has changed you and made you stronger. I know that’s what it has done for me.