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I said in the last post that if we were like trees, always giving the maximum, always trying to grow the maximum, we wouldn’t need to work on ourselves. We would be busy already being everything we can be. But for whatever reason – because of the way our brains evolved or the way God made us, we have the dignity to choose our own destiny, and that includes the dignity to decide, if we will, to not grow, to not change, to not participate in nature and be all we can be.
That doesn’t seem to me to be much of a life. Even if you choose to listen to the resistance, that voice inside that pulls you back to the negative, the base, you will still run into problems and adversity. You may just be putting off the inevitable adversity that will come. And when we don’t try, we’re faced with regret. I’d rather choose the pain of getting through adversity now then face regret later when I haven’t done anything with my life or my time.
Jim Rohn always said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” And it is a sentiment that has helped me grow almost daily for two years.
As we talk about the cycles of complexity that life throws at us all, adversity is one of the hardest things we have to deal with. Of course, that’s a redundant statement.
But here’s the thing about adversity – internal and external: It makes us better, if we let it. If we use it. We could let it beat us, drag us down, and it would be a pretty good excuse to give up, curl up on the couch with a blanket and declare, “life has beat me.” And that’s your choice. In fact, we will even take care of you, in this society. We will make sure you have food to eat and a warm place to live. We will make sure that you continue to survive.
But growth, and change, and becoming something more than you are – you are the only one that can do that. Nobody can force you to become more than you are. That’s a choice. And when you make that choice, you’re going to come up against adversity sooner – but that means you’ll get better sooner. That means you won’t have as much to regret.
And for anyone who is there, I gotta tell you – I’ve been there. I hated, hated having a job, and I thought of myself as an entrepreneur, as a way to not have a job – but then I also hated work, and avoided adversity, so I didn’t get very far. As soon as things got tough I’d switch directions.
Here’s a funny story I didn’t think I’d ever tell. I would start a business, hit a problem, and then quit doing it. Months would go by, I’d get another idea, and start a business, and it was great, then I’d hit more adversity, and I’d quit that one. I wouldn’t stick to anything. I started so many businesses with great ideas and sometimes even clients and then quit as soon as it got hard.
In some self-analysis over the last few months, I realized kind of humorously that all of that actually made me an expert at starting businesses, and that is what I currently do as an entrepreneur, is help people start their businesses – and then grow them. My failures made me an expert at something I never expected. That’s one of the reason that reflection is so important – something that we will be talking about in the next few weeks.
But I was the worst of sinners when it came to letting adversity stop me. As soon as it became difficult at any level, I quickly decided that it was the wrong business for me. I was looking for a life with no adversity. I didn’t want things to be hard.
But things are hard, they are hard for everyone. Nobody gets to escape that, and as soon as I realized that one thing, I changed my work life forever.
I have a theory I want to share, you should all know that it’s my working theory and it isn’t even fully sorted out yet. I’m gonna use God, because that’s what I believe, but you can fill in life, or nature, or the universe if you want, and it’ll still mostly work.
To be challenged with adversity and get through it makes us more perfect than if we were never challenged. I think of a commercial where they take some product and run it over with a truck several times to prove how tough it is. How are you going to know it’s tough enough? You have to run the truck over it. I don’t know any other way. If you run the truck over it and it breaks, then you gotta go back to the lab and work on it some more.
So when you ask why life is so hard sometimes, it is because we are being offered chances to get better, stronger, and wiser. And if we don’t take God up on that offer, I think it’ll be offered again, and again, and again. Here’s your chance to get better.
It would be nice if there were never any adversity, and if things were perfect. But then there would never be any adventure. So my theory is that life is about the adventure. It’s about the adversity. It’s about what you can do with it all, and what all of it can make of you.
I want to know how adversity has challenged you and made you better, stronger or wiser – let me know in the Ideas and Concepts group on Facebook, or comment here!