Without warning, adversity strikes and obstacles present themselves. One moment, it is a beautiful sunny day with the peaceful sound of birds chirping in the air. Then, completely unannounced, the tornado of adversity sweeps through your life with wild raging winds destroying everything, including your heart, in its path.
You would have braced yourself had you known it was coming. Adversity, however, rarely announces its arrival or final destination. Instead, it launches surprise attacks, trials, emotional setbacks, tribulations, and heartaches.
Adversity delivers the untimely news of a loved one's death, presents the crushing reality of a spouse’s betrayal, or delivers the devastating diagnosis of a terminal cancer. No one knows how or when it will come; yet each one of us will eventually face the test of adversity. The question becomes not if adversity will strike, but how do we handle its gripping reality?
Scientific evidence has proven that "well-being" is not always an advantage for either plants or animal. Where there is no challenge, obstacle or hardship ... growth and development is often limited. Biologists refer to this as the "adversity principle."
Obstacles and hardships do not necessarily result in failure or demise, oftentimes, quite the opposite! In a classic book, Cradles of Eminence, researchers Victor and Mildred Goertzel reviewed the childhood and family life of 700 of the world's most successful people. What they discovered is truly fascinating! Three-quarters of these successful people, 525 out of 700, came from deeply troubled childhoods. They had endured extreme poverty, broken homes, and even parental abuse. Over one-fourth, 199 of 700, had to deal with very serious physical handicaps such as deafness, blindness or crippled limbs.
The Goertzel's concluded that the drive to "compensate" for their disadvantages actually drove these people straight into the arms of amazing personal achievement.
Consider Helen Keller, who could not hear or see, but transformed an entire nation when she graduated with honors from college. She is still a source of inspiration for millions.
Then there is Ludwig van Beethoven who began to lose his hearing in his 20s, and was completely deaf by 50. Yet, he went on to create some of the world's most beautiful music in spite of his deafness.
Lou Gehrig, was so exceptionally clumsy, the boys in his neighborhood wouldn't let him play on their baseball team. However, he tapped into his source of inner courage and determination and became a legend, ultimately enshrined in the baseball "Hall of Fame" as one of the greatest ball players of all time.
Woodrow Wilson, who couldn't read until he was ten years old, went on to become the twenty-eighth President of the United States.
Thomas Edison was deaf, Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, Julius Caesar was an epileptic, the famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis and Alexander Pope had an unsightly hunchback. Yet each of these individuals became famous historic figures in spite of, or perhaps because of, their handicaps.
"Adversity causes some men to break, and others to break records."-William Tyler
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”–Martin Luther King
What's your excuse? Are you ready to live beyond your perceived limitations?