How many times have you found yourself slogging through your life, pushing through your day at work, jumping over hurdles and thinking “why can’t this just end?!?!” No doubt you have had moments where you were caught in desperation asking for a reprieve. We all struggle. It is part of life. Don’t take the struggles you face for granted, for on the other side of struggle lies progress. We cannot have one without the other.
We are going to face challenges. We are going to fall on our faces. We are going to have people turn away from us. We are going to grasp at air sometimes when we are reaching for a hand. We are going to come up short. We are going to hear “no.” We are going to experience grief and loss and denial and betrayal and sadness and more. Life is rife with disappointments. That doesn’t mean we get to let them rule us. For each of these emotions (and that is what they are, our way of feeling through certain situations), there is an exact opposite of which we wouldn’t truly know unless the negatives reared their heads.
On your journey to becoming and living your best self, you will get slapped with a tremendous amount of challenges, varying in their scope and depth. Strength, freedom, and joy are gained on the other side of these challenges. Every single inspirational figure in the annals of history forged their legacy due to some form of struggle. I have yet to read a story about someone who woke up, was gifted with amazing talent, and then strolled through life and brought love and freedom to the masses without any setbacks, failures or hardships. That just isn’t the way this world spins.
We can look back on so many “success stories” and gain insight into the recurring theme of struggle and progress resulting on the other side (Search ideas: Albert Einstein, Stephen King, Michael Jordan, Stephen Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Fred Astaire, etc.) The fact of the matter is, growth cannot usually be attained without challenge. The good news is the two do not have to be directly proportional to one another.
That last sentence, I believe, hinders a lot of people. If you achieve something with what seems like a small amount of struggle, it doesn’t negate the achievement. Likewise, if you achieve a small victory after getting pummeled for quite some time, it doesn’t lessen the fact that it was a victory. You just need to realize and be okay with the fact that struggles are never going to be eradicated (until we cease to breathe). We shouldn’t aim to get rid of them.
We need to re-frame our outlook on our difficulties. If we can look at our problems as challenges it allows for us to view them as opportunities or springboard points. Every diving board dips some before it propels you. When we look at our challenges as the dip before the launch (again, the dip and the launch are not necessarily of the same magnitude), we will realize that there are learning opportunities in every perceived negative situation.
What can we do differently? What can we protect ourselves from? What can we dive into more? What can I say/do next time? What little ‘tweak’ could I initiate to lessen the chance of this happening again? What door is now opening now that this one has closed? These type of questions will help ensure that the same slip doesn’t happen again, and when a similar challenge presents itself, at least we have “seen this road before” and we can begin taking steps to get back to where we should be sooner rather than later.
So when faced with a struggle, maybe take a breath and realize this will propel your forward (in some way, shape or form) and possibly even be grateful for the grind, because, without the hurdles, you will never win the race.