Adversity – we all face it in our lives; some more than others it sometimes seems. Some of those moments are more difficult, more arduous, and more challenging than others. And many, if stacked up next to each other, would naturally settle out in the standard bell curve with some outliers at both extreme ends of mild and horrific, and a greater number in between; not every instance of adversity is equal to the last or the next. But adversity, much like stress, can be as difficult, as oppressive, regardless of the overall scale of the moment. I mean, we all cringe and complain when we get a papercut – for that moment it is the cause of all our woes. But stick a foot in the lawn mower…….relativity – it’s relentless!!
And much like all the things we do in life, we have some measure of control – not over whether the event happens of course, but control over how we respond.
“Adversity causes some men to break; other to break records.” – William Arthur Ward
“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” – Aristotle
“Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.” – Martha Graham
“Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.” – Og Mandino
“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” – Lou Holtz
It is quite inescapable, unless we choose to never try anything, to never dare. But even then, it will creep up on you and it will snare you. So trying to avoid adversity is like nailing jelly to a tree; not going to happen. But when it rises up in front of us and rears on its hind legs to dominant and overpower us, this is the time to decide how we will respond. We can do so with grace, with poise, and with wide open eyes – arms outstretched to grab it and wrestle it to submission. Or we can cower, complain, and cover our eyes with a “woe is me” concession.
It is never pleasant, comfortable, easy, or sometimes natural for us to stand in the howl of the fury and chaos. But it is a choice we must make. I suspect that I must have read this – I just admire it too much to believe I thought of it. But I cannot immediately find a source. None the less, regardless of the origin, the words lie at the cradle of this message:
Let the worst of moment reveal the best of a man
Think on that; do you wish to be the one who ran? Who gave up? Who rolled over and piddled on his stomach? The one who’s best is kept for the worst of times should be our goal. And it is not always what we do, but how we do it that best defines us.
And that is my life lesson for today, bred of current circumstance.