Regardless of how fortunate or unfortunate we are in life, we all face struggles and challenges. This is a fact of life no one can escape from. It does not matter whether we are rich or poor, educated or illiterate: everyone has their fair share of challenges.
Obviously, our station and standing in life determines the nature of challenges we face. There is however one common theme, when it comes to challenges, regardless of our station or standing in life. That theme is whether we let our struggles put us down, or use them as stepping stones to success.
In every situation, perspective and reaction are everything. The lens through which we view the circumstances we find ourselves in, and our reaction to the challenges we face, can make or break us.
We can either view our challenges as the end of us. Or we can view them as opportunities for growth. When faced with what appear to be devastating circumstances and asking “why me?”, or thinking “I am finished”, we can stand tall and ask, :how can I overcome this challenge and come out better than I came in?”
We can also choose how we react to adversity. Adversity has varying effects on people. It builds some people up. Makes them stronger, and bring out the best in them. Adversity can also transform others into an unrecognisable mess of their former selves.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with It the seed of an equal or greater Benefit”. The great Napoleon Hill is quoted as saying this powerful quote. As human beings, we all have the inert power to transform any challenge into triumph. However, attitude is essential to being able to do that effectively.
If every challenge carries the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit, how do these benefits present themselves? No one can argue that people who have overcome great obstacles appear to rise out of them as great individuals. They become people we can look up to for inspiration.
Overcoming obstacles has numerous benefits, whether we look at it from a personal or professional perspective. Overcoming obstacles makes people and businesses better, and stronger than they were before. Here are just a few examples in how this occurs:
When we face a challenge, and triumph over it, it gives us a new sense of direction and confidence. When we are in the middle of a difficult situation, there is a deep sense of desperation, which, if not overcome, is guaranteed to be devastating. Nothing increases our confidence than overcoming an obstacle, and realising what a great feat we achieved in doing so.
Solving problems develops our creative and thinking muscles. It takes a great deal of personal and interpersonal skills to overcome any obstacle. And when we triumph, we build up the skills necessary to get out of the difficult situation, and add the skills it took to overcome the obstacle as a notch on our problem-solving belt.
Have you heard of the expression “trial by fire”? This expression has its roots in the mediaeval practice of determining a person’s guilt by having them undergo an ordeal, such as walking barefoot on hot coals. It was a test of one’s ability to function under pressure. And when we pass the test, we are more resilient, and can stand more challenging circumstances in the future.
Life, interpersonal or even work experiences are transferable. As I already mentioned, solving problems builds our skills to handle similar and related future challenges. The skills we acquire in one set of circumstances, can also be applicable to other similar situations, thereby making us more resilient to withstand similar, or related situations.
I believe our experiences determine the type of person we are and will become. It is simply impossible to go through challenges and not experience immense growth as individuals. For instance, and as already mentioned, it can develop in us the ability to deal with and handle pressure, which adds to our personal growth, as well as professional development.
It is clear that overcoming challenges requires skills and consequently, it helps to build a collection of strategies, built around the necessary skills required for success. Below are some of the strategies that can help us become better at tackling challenges.
Known as chunking in some circles, breaking challenges into smaller, more manageable tasks can help us feel less overwhelmed. You will often find that sequentially dealing with smaller chunks of a larger task, will make completing the bigger task more practical.
No man is an island, or woman, as the adage goes. It will help us to seek out the necessary resources, online and offline, to help us cope with challenges. Whether it’s a mentor, a support group, or online resources, surrounding ourselves with people who can offer guidance and support can be incredibly helpful when facing a challenge.
Like I mentioned already, perspective is crucial to dealing with problems in life. It’s important to remember that challenges, no matter how difficult, are temporary. We need to keep this in mind as we work to overcome the obstacles in front of us.
I am a firm believer in positivity, in a very big way. Some people say that positivity is unsustainable, but I say, so is bathing once. We have to keep bathing to stay clean. The same with positivity, we have to work at sustaining it continuously. A positive attitude and a clear sense of purpose can go a long way in helping us navigate challenges and come out on top.
One kit we need to add to the arsenal of tools and strategies intended to help us better deal with challenges as stepping stones to success, is perseverance. It’s easy to give up when things get tough, but it’s important to keep pushing through, and stay committed to our goals.
It is important to always remember that success often requires persistence and determination, and that the struggles we face today can make us stronger and more resilient in the long run.
To illustrate this point, here are a few real-life examples of individuals who achieved success through overcoming their struggles:
The author of the Harry Potter series faced numerous challenges before achieving success. She was a single mother living on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book, and it was rejected by multiple publishers before finally being accepted. Today, the Harry Potter series is one of the bestselling book series of all time.
The co-founder of Apple faced numerous setbacks and challenges throughout his career. He was fired from the company he co-founded, and he struggled to find success with his next ventures. However, he persevered and eventually returned to Apple, leading the company to become one of the most innovative and successful tech companies in the world.
Oprah is now known as one of the most successful and influential women in the world, but she didn’t always have an easy path to success. She faced numerous personal and professional challenges, including sexual abuse, poverty, and discrimination. However, she used these challenges as opportunities for growth and eventually became a household name, as a television host, actress, and philanthropist.
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