Another month has passed and I am sitting here staring at this blank Microsoft Word document, the cursor eerily mocking me as if to say, “What? You ain’t got nothin’! Bwahahahah!” So I typed that opening sentence you just read to spite it…
I believe that it is safe to say that pretty much every person who has ever seen success had an obstacle or two along the way, maybe more. Challenges always exist when we are striving to accomplish a goal, to succeed. It’s never THAT easy. Sure, there is the occasional “will you look at that” moment… but for the most part, people like Mark Zupan, Frederick Douglas, and Bethany Hamilton faced some pretty amazing challenges and issues. Granted, those three are extreme but they should certainly give your 1st world problems perspective before you read on.
How many of you have heard the term, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”? Of course you have! If you haven’t, you’re welcome.
I was asked to speak on a topic this month and, whereas I believe I have spoken on it before, I will give it another shot. Sometimes we just have to let some things out. Recently, I have witnessed several of my friends struggle with their own personal issues… so when I was asked to write about this topic, I saw it as a sign. I am no expert by any means but let me say I have certainly seen my fair share. We’re talking about overcoming adversity … and not necessarily in paintball. Sorry – I don’t know who needs to hear or read this… but I felt called to do it.
If you want the topic in reference to paintball specifically, you can check these other blog posts out that touch on the subject as well.
Smells like rain…
and to a slightly lesser extent but more of a specific example of how it hit me in the face a time or two;
Whippersnappers and Adversity
Okay… here we go.
Life itself can be a difficult thing. There will always be hills and valleys. Some of us spend a lot of time on the hills while others spend what seems like an eternity in the valleys (that’s ups and downs for those of you who don’t always comprehend what I’m saying/writing). No matter where we are on our journey, we should always take the opportunity to learn and grow from how we got there, where we were exactly, where we think we are going, and what it teaches us.
“Those who wrestle with us strengthen our nerves and sharpen our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” – Edmund Burke
The best way to beat or rather, deal with adversity is to conquer it before it happens. How? Simply prepare for it. Anticipate it. Be ready. It’s coming… we all know it. Why are we so surprised when we encounter it? Whether it is through preparation/recognition of what could be an issue or simply mentally preparing ourselves for the job ahead, understanding there will be adversity is the first step in defeating it.
But what if you didn’t prepare? What if you didn’t anticipate all contingencies?
Fair question. First and foremost, don’t panic. Maintain discipline. “Embrace the suck” as our military brethren have taught us. Don’t get overwhelmed – take a breath, step back and use the same enthusiasm you began your journey with to defeat the new adversary. Use that same zeal, that same positivity you started with to overcome.
Look – stuff happens. Too many of us get caught up in thinking “woe is me” and that life sucks; it’s all rainbows and unicorns for everyone but poor ol’ me. Recognize that, in many instances, these moments are gifts! They are opportunities for us to grow, learn, and become stronger than we were before. Level up! Those of you who focus on the negative or blame others for your adversity are — well …. weak. That’s right, I said it. And you will remain weak and you will continue to fail until you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Be accountable, take responsibility, take stock in what you have, and use it to push forward. Evaluate what happened and why. When you do this, you will then be able to determine how you can prevent it from happening again!
I have been blessed with encountering some absolutely amazing human beings in my brief time. Whether they are successful fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, athletes, employers, employees… you name it. They all have something in common. They all recognize that once you are good or adept at something, it doesn’t stop there. It is a continuous journey seeking continuous improvement. They recognize that there is always room to do better and improve.
“If better is possible, good is not enough.” – unknown
Overcoming adversity is about being honest with yourself. Take stock in your capabilities, your strengths (we all have strengths) and where you may not be as strong. Where are the holes? Once you identify them, do what you can to shore them up. This will lead to more confidence and more capability of defeating your adversity.
Now, some of you reading this may be thinking, “Easy for you to say.” That’s true. It is easy for me to say… but it wasn’t always. I overcame some things and made it happen. I didn’t whine and feel sorry for myself (sure there were times I wanted too… I’m man enough to admit it). But I said, nope, gotta do better and it has to start with me. I was real with myself. I had a very real conversation with me, took stock in what I had and decided to make a change. Someday I will share that major turning point in my life. In the meantime, know that we have to be real with ourselves and we have to stay positive. I know, I know… the positivity part can prove difficult. But if you surround yourself with the right influences and support (family, friends, mentors, etc.), its much easier than you realize.
“Don’t give up – when going through hell… keep going.” – Winston Churchill
Alright, I’m going to close this out with another quote. I find it the perfect summation for the topic. It comes from Thomas Edison when he was inventing the light bulb:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to people. Be patient, be positive, grow, become stronger. We can all do it. Even those of you who think you can’t. You can. Trust me on this one.
Be water my friends.