“Virtually every good thing in my life I can trace back to a misfortune, so my feeling is you don’t know what’s good and what’s bad when things happen. You do not know. You have to wait to find out.” Sebastian Junger
I am especially fond of quotes that remind me to look beyond the obvious or awaken me to the counterintuitive things in life. This quote is a wonderful example. In one of my TEDx talks titled “The Paradox of Adversity”, I explain how positive outcomes can be born in adversity. A bit of context may be needed here. Stated simply, I believe that adversity is nothing more than a bully and, like all bullies, is a coward.
Now, stay with me on this. Many times, our reaction is to flee from adversity, especially a significant one, which gives you no opportunity to transform it into a positive. You can view my TEDx talk by just Googling my name, but I’ll give you the bottom line here. I was facing a significant challenge in my professional career, one that I felt totally unprepared to deal with.
As the anxiety built, I was finally hospitalized from the stress, which had begun to wreak havoc on my body and mind. Lying in the hospital, with a tube passed through my nose to my stomach, I remember asking the nurse to give me something to knock me out because I hadn’t slept in four days. I was exhausted mentally and physically. The next morning was like an epiphany for me. Something inside told me that I needed to get out the hospital and plow through the adversity, or it would brand me indelibly.
After 24 hours in the hospital, I checked myself out, got on a plane to come face-to-face with my fear, and from that moment on, the adverse situation began to recede. Why? Because, like all bullies, when they are confronted, they run away. And, this all led to one of the most profound growth experiences in my life.
So, please, the next time you face an adverse situation, smile, knowing that if you stand up to it, it will dissolve and you with experience something you richly deserve: profound personal growth.