Be Aware of Adversity and Its Purpose

Be aware of your thoughts and words.
Be aware of adversity and its purpose. 
Be aware of what is in your control and what is not. 
Be aware of your emotional response.
Be aware that our mind gravitates toward the negatives.
Be aware of the practice needed to achieve what you want.

As I continue to delve into six awarenesses needed in our lives, this week, I will examine being aware of adversity and its purpose. A few weeks ago, I shared the following about being aware of adversity and its meaning:

Be aware of adversity and its purpose. We have to realize the harsh realities of being human. Things are going to be challenging at times. Life is not about adversity; it is about accepting adversity and using it to learn and grow. Expect adversity, and expect to overcome it.

No one wants adversity, but we are all going to have to face it at some point in our life. There is no way to avoid adversity. You can play it safe and stay secure for a short time, but this stagnation will eventually cause adversity in your lack of growth/change. Or, you can push forward, take on challenges, accept adversity, and use it as a tool to learn and grow.

PJ Fleck, the head football coach of the University of Minnesota, has a mantra that he and his teams live by…Row Your Boat. Coach Fleck equates rowing a boat to all aspects of life. While rowing, you cannot see what is coming up in front of you as you have your back to the front of the boat. You can only see what you have passed. But, as soon as you become too focused on what is behind you, you stop giving your full attention to placing your oar in the water, and you stop moving forward. We row into the unknown, knowing that there are going to be rough waters ahead. What is behind us matters; it’s where we came from, but what matters most is continuing to focus on placing our oars in the water and moving forward. The best bet we have to take on the unknown of our future is just to keep rowing the boat.

Besides autonomic functions (heart rate, digestion, breathing, etc.), we have learned how to do everything we can currently do. Even things we know take for granted, walking, talking, and reading were previously learned processes. These tasks were not easy to learn. There were lots of stumbles and falls during each process. But, by pushing through that adversity, we learned how to take on these tasks that now seem simple. When we are young, our brains are not as developed, so we are often more willing to take on risks to learn new things. As we get older, our brains’ cognitive processes pull us to safety because we have experienced the pain that often accompanies challenging tasks. 

Adversity is simply a temporary pain associated with learning new things. Often when stuck in a difficult situation, the challenge comes from our not having the skill set to deal with the problematic situation, not our willingness to stay in that position. The only way to gain the skills necessary to grow is to practice in adversity. Adversity is there to help us get better; that is its purpose. Being aware of this principle is the key to getting better at anything we challenge ourselves to do. We must meet adversity with the mindset that each situation is in our best interest and designed to help us learn and grow. That mindset will allow us to accomplish many things and overcome multiple adversities.

Adversity is simply an opportunity to learn and grow. Take this awareness with you into any challenging situation, and the sky’s the limit.

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