Difficulties Provide GrowthAuthor: Byron Pulsifer, ©2015
Who would possibly want to read about the difficulties of other people?
Or, why would your own difficulty be an inspiration and not an excuse to give in or give up?
Just maybe, just maybe, there is something to be learned about digesting the experience of others to put your own trials and tribulations into perspective; a perspective that encourages rather than deflates.
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller
Failure Is Necessary
For those of you who have experienced failure, there is more to learn than just what went wrong, there is a special uniqueness to lack of success and that is the opportunity to attempt again with past experience as a guide of what not to do, rather than repeating the same mistakes.
There is the development of character; a character that embodies the mindset that one try is not the end but only the beginning.
It is the development of strength to carry on despite the hurdles faced, or the challenges that loom. And, let's be brutally honest. It's much easier to give up than to go on. It is a lot less aggravating to drop something that appears to be too difficult and change course to something that appears to be much easier.
It is the capacity to maintain an attitude of moving forward despite what may appear as closed doors, or blocked access. Let me give you a recent example that clearly shows what happens when an individual refuses to see a road blocked but keep pushing to open a new door. That example is the recent election of Donald Trump as the new President elect of the United States. From every account that I've read, from every news telecast I've heard, and from every political guru there was all said that Donald Trump couldn't possibly win the Presidential election. I guess he fooled a lot of people, didn't he?
Embrace Past Successes
As a human being, no matter where you are, or what you think you may or may not have been successful in doing, you always have past examples of success.
How do I know? Very simple.
You learned to talk by experiencing growth with attempt after attempt to pronounce a word that is finally understood. Sure, speaking intelligible words did not come overnight but honestly what does? For every attempt you made to speak, I bet you were applauded by parental enthusiasm.
You learned to walk not in one attempt but after many, many false starts or tumbles. You learned to walk by first being held up by your hands so that those first baby steps could start transmitting the feeling of your feet moving forward touching the ground.
For every step thereafter, you started to feel more confident. With this little bit of confidence, despite a few headers or a fall on your butt, you gingerly got up and tried again. And, just because you tried again didn't mean that you immediately were walking as if you were a skilled athlete. Quite the opposite took place as you attempted to walk further with less failure on every occasion.
You leaned to feed yourself even though your first several attempts saw more food miss your mouth than what entered. There were times when your little spoon was thrown to the ground to be replaced by your fingers of each hand scooping away at your food and shoveling it unceremoniously into your mouth. There were times, I'm sure, where the food wouldn't stay on your baby spoon and slid or rolled off. Did you give up believing that eating with a spoon was too foolish to continue? Not so.
You may scoff at these examples at first, but if you take these past successes as stepping stones to final victory, you will have mastered the techniques of success that apply to every walk in.
If you don't believe me, I have a suggestion for you. Read the biographies of successful men and women and you will find examples of the difficulties that they faced, but you will also see the steps they took to ultimately achieve their dream. In some cases these people took very small steps, but always one step at a time.
For example, I would suggest reading the biography of Thomas Edison. Once you have read his story, I believe you will applaud his ferocious tenacity as he went from one attempt to another in his experiments to invent our first lightbulb.
The lightbulb is taken for granted today. However, if Edison had given up after hundreds of attempts, how long do you think it would have been before a lightbulb was invented? Maybe it wouldn't have been long at all, but we'll never know because of Edison's dogged enthusiasm to succeed.
How about Walt Disney's success? Do you think Disney's first endeavour to excel in business was simply a cake walk? Not so.
Do you think that any of our current and past Olympians simply turned up at the stadium and were able to compete successfully without first developing their skills for many, many years? Not so.
"Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified." Samuel Johnson
Baby Steps Lead The Way
Success is not a one-step deal. I could continue to give you example after example of individuals that succeeded but only after experiencing failure. And, there are countless stories of those who failed multiple times but finally succeeded. I can't help offering one more example.
And, that example is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln would never have become a President of the United States had he not had grit, stamina, perseverance or enthusiasm. Do you know how many times he failed in his life before he became President? I do but I'm not going to tell you. I would rather you read his story to find out. Why? Because I believe Abe's life could easily be another showcase for each one of us who has experienced failure and quit. Abe didn't quit and neither should you. I encourage you to read his story today.
Success is available. But, it is open to only those who know that baby steps are just the beginning, and where every step, even a failing one, is necessary before the next.
Learn to put a one step at a time philosophy as the right stones to step on as you work your way through the maze of what is often viewed by others as a hopeless walk. And, I hope that one day soon your story of perseverance, your story of overcoming defeat and failure, your story of sticking to it will be one that will be written about often as a prime example of encouragement for others.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"There will be times when you want to turn around, pack it up, and call it quits. Those times tell you that you are pushing yourself, that you are not afraid to learn by trying." Author Unknown
"You can always be more, get more and learn more. Don't let your failure pull you down rather use it to climb higher." Hernert O Nobleman
"Focus not on discouragements but on the will to succeed." Edward Dunedin
"If you have committed a mistake in the day, make a note of it, learn about its cause and respond appropriately to resolve it and in turn boost your confidence." Lenny Olsen
"I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person." Rita Mero
"Instead of viewing obstacles as reasons to give up, view them as tests. A higher power (God, fate, the creative force of the universe) has put them in your path to determine if you're worthy of success." James O'Donnell
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