How I Turned Adversity into Unlimited Opportunity
“Every defeat, every disappointment, and every adversity carry seeds of equivalent benefits.” ~ Napoleon Hill
Adversity is a part of life that we all have to deal with at various times in our lives. The question is how do we handle adversity so that it doesn’t destroy us? Might adversity even help us? YES, yes it can! We frame adversity in our lives by what it means to us. For one person, it might mean that life can’t go on, like the pain of losing a loved one. For another, adversity might be a temporary setback on the way to something more meaningful like a new job.
It’s all in how we choose to see the meaning of the adversity and how we decide to reframe it as a means to hurt us or help us.
In my childhood story chronicled in the book The Path to a Peaceful Heart, I totally changed how I looked at the meaning of that difficult situation over a thirty year period. I repurposed what it meant to me. Where I once was asking questions like why did this have to happen? What did I do to deserve this? Why me? I now ask the questions, what did this situation or person teach me? What have I learned? What good will come of this?
That’s quite a big change in mental, emotional, and spiritual attitude. Here’s how I did it:
1. I allowed the personal reactive me to take a vacation – I stepped back from my reactions and anger and stopped taking things so personally. I instead noticed that I was observing and witnessing everything that was going on in my life. I became the observer witness of my situation without feeling about it one way or another.
To do this, I put my feelings aside for a moment and focused on just the facts. The facts showed me that my situation was in need of a lot of help which was very different than how I felt about getting that help.
2. I got out of my own way – if unlimited opportunity is what I wanted, I had to be willing to admit what was holding me back wasn’t another person or the terrible situation. It was me. Once I observed how I operated my life, I noticed I had a pattern of behavior that held me back from the things I really wanted. For example, I was not contributing emotionally and wholeheartedly to my personal relationships, which was a direct result of learning destructive behavior patterns in my childhood.
3. I applied Choice – once I saw my limiting childhood pattern, I realized I was the only one who could change it. So instead of saying poor Taylor, I chose to do something positive about my limitations. I slowly began opening up emotionally and contributing more to my relationships. This is what I truly wanted, and I did not accept ceilings on how much I could open up. I ended up turning around the very thing that was holding me back. I now enjoy good, solid relationships in my life.
4. I forgave the whole thing – my emotional truth hinged on the belief that I had been dealt a bad hand in life. I changed that entire perspective by forgiving my childhood situation and everyone in it. (see the specific and permanent Forgiveness Process in the book) Once I forgave, the light came on and I understood that people do the best they can with the tools they have at the time. That allowed me to then ask the all important question, what did I learn from this situation?
5. I forgave myself – my life changed drastically when I let myself off the hook for feeling responsible for my childhood situation. As a child, great shame hooked into my being when I didn’t receive an answer to the question, “What did I do wrong?” I carried that question and the consequences with me for many years until I found the courage to let go of it. When I did, the lights came on again and I immediately understood that all adversity is put in our lives so that we can find the courage to overcome it. My adversity was meant to teach me a valuable lesson of perseverance and love so that I could take the next positive steps in my life. After that, I was easily able to ask the question, what good has come of this?
Turning adversity into unlimited opportunity is about removing the roadblocks that we set up for ourselves. As you remove these roadblocks, a sacred peace that was always there shines forth. I was able to take my childhood adversity and turn it around 360 degrees into a positive course of action for growth, valuable learning, and purpose. I now help others transform their own suffering and pain into meaning. You will be able to do this too for your own unique circumstances and experiences with a will to change for the better and a belief that you can overcome anything that’s put in your path.
These steps worked for me, they will certainly work for you.