Walt Disney once said, “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt went through a lot of hardships in his life, fought a lot of uphill battles, but guess what? He ended up becoming the most famous man in the world of entertainment and cartoons, whose legacy will live on forever.
Adversity is a tough subject. Many of us are non-confrontational in nature. We try hard to avoid stressful situations and anything that may lay beyond our comfort zone. We naturally like to take the easy road; we like consistency and familiar things. But to quote another famous line: “The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”
During the easy periods of our lives we get soft and complacent. Maybe you have a job that’s decent, but not great. Maybe your relationship is good enough, but it could be better. Maybe you’re mildly content with your life, but that voice in the back of your head says you can do great things if you just put in the work.
When our lives are difficult or downright shitty, however, that voice gets louder. We might get angry, depressed, or paranoid about our situation. We find ourselves in a tight spot with our back against the wall. Maybe you let down a loved one, got fired from your job, or feel like you can’t change your life. This is when adversity hits us like a truck. You have two choices: you can either back down from the challenge or you can fight it head on. “Grab life by the horns”, as an old Dodge commercial used to say.
Think about Bill Gates, who was called a nerd and loser throughout high school. He used that adversity to his advantage: he focused all his talents on building software programs and computers. He was so confident in himself that he dropped out of college to build Microsoft. Now he is one of the richest, most successful men in the world who has enough money to last him several lifetimes. Or how about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who got cut from his football team, crushing any hopes of entering the NFL, and was left with no job and $7 in his pocket? He used that adversity to his advantage too: he ended up becoming a WWE star, movie star, and one of the best motivational speakers and fitness gurus.
Would Walt Disney have created the greatest theme park and entertainment brand in the world if he hadn’t been “kicked in the teeth” and faced adversity? Probably not. Just as Bill Gates and Dwayne Johnson wouldn’t have become two of the most famous and successful people in the world if they hadn’t faced great challenges.
We have all had great failures. But when that big challenge arises, stand your ground. Put your fists up and fight back. Use your anger and past defeats to your advantage. Let that adrenaline rush fuel you. When you fight your adversity head on, amazing things happen. You gain the strength to conquer your problems. You push yourself to new limits. And most importantly, you may end up turning your whole life around.