The Advantages of Challenges

“When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They are sent to promote, increase and strengthen you”

– Anonymous

I hear you, it down right sucks whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation so much so that all we want to do in that moment is to just to get out of it as fast as humanly possible.

Though many of us may often day-dream of a life absent of challenges, obstacles and/or failures, over the years I’ve come to understand that in life, adversity is not only inevitable but also necessary if we were to aspire to become our very best self.

This is certainly a hard thought to swallow when we are amidst of a negative experience. Yet if we take the time to look back on our past, we will come to realize as to how our most difficult circumstances, rather than our most joyful moments, were actually the experiences that played a crucial role in shaping who we are today.

If you happen to be currently going through challenges and are feeling defeated, I’m here to offer you a bit of comfort and solace. Here are 5 hidden blessings that often come through rejections and failures that seek to encourage us to stop resisting adversity and learn to start embracing it instead.

1. It reminds you that you are always stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit for

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” ― Bob Marley

Most of us have a tendency to underestimate ourselves and our  capabilities and tough times forces us to respond in ways beyond what we thought possible. They serve as a reminder that much of the limitations that we perceive to have are in fact – invalid.

As the great Maya Angelou said “It is necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it“.

Sometimes, it takes moments where we’re backed into a corner to find out what you’re truly capable of. If you happen to be a surfer, the ocean waves make a great analogy. When you’re faced with an immense wave, you can choose to either ride the waves or let it knock you down and sink you. Hopefully, you’ll choose the former and show yourself that you’re always stronger than you give yourself credit for.

2. It helps you to cultivate more gratitude and compassion

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” ― Robin Williams

The truth of the matter is that we often don’t really know what we have until it is gone and/or taken away from us. Times of struggle opens our eyes to the simple joys and things that really matter which we previously have taken for granted.

The experience of having gone through pain and defeat also help us to better relate and be more compassionate to others. As the old age proverb goes, “pride goeth before the fall“. When we find ourselves experiencing loss and/or defeat, we are left burning our pride and arrogance and be humbled by the fact that no one is immune to adversity.

3. It clarifies your passion and what you truly want in life

“Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.” 

– JK Rowling

When you find yourself struggling in the professional sphere – whether it is feeling miserable at your current job or finding yourself having a difficult time landing a new “ideal” job everyone but you wants you to have, it forces you to re-evaluate how you want your life to play out.

If you allow it, these negative circumstances can help you to clarify what it is you are truly passionate about and it can push you to throw caution to the wind and start living life on your own terms.

4. It sharpens your grit 

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

– Haruki Murakami

It is not a rarity that highly successful people credit their resilience and persistence aka grit as one of the main reasons to their immense success. Rather than seeing defeats and disappointments as hindrances to their growth, they wholeheartedly believe that their past failures were the fuel they needed to propel them to greatness.

People who are never challenged in life do not have the opportunity to learn how to overcome adversity, a crucial element to develop coping strategies, character and strength. As a result, they would often find themselves giving up far too easily when the going gets tough in comparison to those who have learned to embrace challenges and use it to their advantage.

5. It makes your achievements even sweeter 

“Success is sweet and sweeter if long-delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.”

– Amos Bronson Alcott

The greatest view comes after the greatest climb they say and I personally found it to be true. It becomes all too easy to take success for granted when it is handed to us on a silver platter.

I believe that achievements, triumphs, and victories become that much more valuable and sweeter when you had to jump through hoops to get to the finish line. It’s important to keep in mind that success is not just about the destination. The journey is just as – if not more important – and having to face an obstacle course along the path to success certainly makes for a far more interesting and rewarding adventure.

There you have it, 5 great silver linings that can be found even in your darkest times. Life is all about growth and progress, choose to see difficult times as opportunities to step closer to becoming the best version of you – you could ever possibly be.

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