The University of Adversity

“There is no education like adversity.”
Benjamin Disraeli

Well, aren’t we feeling well educated? Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But, of course, it is so true. If life always unfolded just as we expect and desire, we would parish the first time we fell off a bike or lost a client. Put another way:

Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.
French Proverb

Sorry about the gender bias (the French) – I’m sure this is equally true for non-males.

Adversity is simply life moving in a direction that we did not expect.

It is not necessarily a worse direction, or a better direction, just different than what we had planned. There are two primary responses to adversity each presenting us with an opportunity for growth.

Ask yourself: 1. Is the situation counter-productive to my life plan. Does it inhibit my ability to grow in the direction I have selected, and 2. Is it within my ability to change it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you can create a plan to bring the situation more in line with your goals.

If you cannot change the situation, you are handed the opportunity to learn acceptance. We simply cannot manipulate every aspect of life to match our vision of how the world should be. Attempting to do so will only bring frustration, disappointment and resentment. Learning to let go of our expectations is one of the keys to a happy life.

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr

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