Every challenge, setback and personal difficulty you encounter in life also brings with it the seed of equivalent or greater benefit! The key to overcoming adversity is to avoid the temptation of panic and instead, focus on finding the greater benefit. Adversity will never leave you where it found you; it either will strengthen your character or weaken your resolve. During the early years of World War II, Nazi submarines, operating in wolf packs, roamed the frigid waters of the North Atlantic with impunity, sinking an alarming number of British military and merchant ships. Hitler was confident that his U-boats could blockade England and eventually starve the British people into submission.
In the summer of 1940, while the Battle of Britain was being played out over London, the Germans unmercifully sank more than 300 British military and merchant ships. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, fearing the negative impact these devastating losses might have on the nation's morale, ordered the information withheld from the public. In an effort to reduce the appalling number of casualties lost at sea, Churchill instructed the British Royal Navy to begin a study to determine what, if anything, could be done to save more lives during sea rescue.
While interviewing the survivors an interesting discovery was made. To their complete astonishment, the researchers noted that the survival rate for the younger, presumably more physically fit sailors was remarkably lower when compared to their older shipmates. The study concluded that the older sailors had a significantly higher survival rate due to the fact that they had overcome more adversity and, therefore, had developed greater confidence in being rescued than the younger, less experienced sailors.
I find it interesting that people faced with similar adversity often experience remarkably different outcomes. Some people become weakened, some become hardened and some become stronger. If you place a carrot, an egg and a coffee bean into a pot of boiling water, each reacts in a completely different manner to their conditions. The carrot goes into the boiling water firm and comes out soft; the egg goes in fragile and comes out hardened; while the coffee bean turns the hot water into coffee by releasing its flavor and aroma!
Succeeding in these challenging times demands determination and personal fortitude. Having the will to persevere when times are tough is a characteristic commonly found among self-made millionaires. Are you a quitter? The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed or did you fail because you stopped trying?
Thomas Edison documented 10,000 failed attempts to develop the electric light bulb. A reporter asked the great inventor how it felt to have failed 10,000 times trying to invent the light bulb. Edison responded, “Young man, I didn't fail 10,000 times trying to invent the light bulb, I simply documented 10,000 ways that it wouldn't work.” Imagine how different our world would be today if Edison had been a quitter.
You must expect to encounter detours, roadblocks and potholes of adversity along the road of life. The next time you are faced with adversity, learn from it and know that you are becoming a much stronger person because of it! ND