How to thrive in the midst of adversity

How to thrive in the midst of adversity

Editor's Note:  Life often throws us challenges that have the potential to sway us away from our dreams. Freelance writer and contributor, Daniel Dela Dunoo takes a look at  how to thrive in the midst of adversities, drawing inspiration from William Arthur Ward's quote, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records” 

That adversity comes to all, is a fact of life. Human existence is replete with challenges; from the cradle to the grave. Sometimes, we are tempted to think that the rich, for instance have no problems whatsoever. Well, they may have no problem with funds, but they sure have one problem or the other; it could be problems associated with their marriages, raising their kids, health issues and even problems associated with work. The point of going on this tangent is to show that problems and difficulties come to the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the student and the teacher, the preacher and the congregants, the sick and the healthy; there simply are no exceptions.

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Adversity demystified

It is important to note that your current adversity may be different from that faced by a colleague, friend, family member or any other person for that matter. Whereas the unemployed graduate is faced with the challenge of prospecting for a job, a rich fellow somewhere is faced with a marital challenge - a marriage at the brink of a divorce. Someone else, in spite of all his best efforts, is constantly broke and in debt. Here is another who has started a company and provides top-notch services, and yet finds it difficult attracting clients. Someone has a solid business idea but simply cannot find the funds to actualize his or her dream. Yet another was born without arms and legs, or with some kind of physical impairment; doing daily chores and pursuing their dreams is a constant hassle. A studious student failed woefully in his final exam. A lovely couple just lost their only son to a dreaded ailment. The list is never ending. These are the adversities of life, and indeed, there are more.

I have observed that we are sometimes faced with several challenges all at the same time; challenges seem to flood our lives en mass. You are faced with a myriad of challenges and setbacks all at one and the same time. You are broke, in debt, jobless, sick and have been deserted by a spouse – all at the same time for instance. Such situations can be extremely frustrating, discouraging and indeed can sow seeds of despair and depression, and on occasion push some towards the edge of suicide.

There are also those challenges that come as though in series. One problem is resolved and soon after, another problem shows up. This paints the picture of life being an adventure of finding viable solutions to the myriad of life`s challenges.

Adversity either ‘breaks’ or ‘makes’ people

Time and again, adversity has driven many into feats desperation, hopelessness, aimlessness, anxiety and depression. Some have given up on the pursuit of their most cherished dreams and aspirations. Families have been wrecked, as though beyond repairs. Adversity has pushed many into self-destructive habits and pursuits; it has literally broken many; the resolve to keep trying is broken; the passion and focus needed to change situations for the better are broken. This is especially the case where attempts over a considerable period of time to deal with a given adversity never seem to yield any tangible results. History is awash with many potentially great men and women who feel on bended knees before the mountain of adversity. The reverse also holds true. Some have been propelled by adversity to break records; they pushed harder and longer; they kept at it, monumental odds notwithstanding.

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Thriving against the odds

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest American Basket ball players of all time writes: “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I`ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, i`ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I`ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Does this ring a bell?

Well, the fact of the matter is that, many of the world`s greats the world over chalked great success, in spite of adversity. That which broke many, served as a catalyst for them. Many physically challenged individuals such as Nick Vujicic, Esref Armagon, Steve Wonder, Joni Eareckson Tada, Hellen Keller and a host of others have chalked great successes in spite of their physical handicap; they consistently choose (chose) to make the best out of that which life handed over to them. They choose (chose) to turn lemons into lemonades. They see opportunities, where others see insurmountable adversity. They are optimists. In the words of Winston Churchill, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Adversity should not break you. It should not derail your dreams and aspirations. It may be a comma in the sentence of your life but should never be a full stop. Never give up. Don`t give in to worry and distraction. Rev. Jesse Jackson admonishes, “If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds.” Bear Grylls opines, “Survival can be summed up in three words - never give up. That`s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.”

Admittedly, some adversities can be extremely demoralizing but you have in you what it takes to thrive. Your potential to rise above the odds is immense. Adversity can break you, only if you permit it. In the face of adversity seek the counsel and support of trusted family members, friends, loved ones and in some cases professional counselors. You may also opt to read the motivational books and stories to inspire you to keep on pushing in the face of adversity. Many have been where you are now. They made it, and they made it big. You can make it to. Learn from their experiences and be encouraged by their stories of survival and triumph.

Give yourself sometime for seclusion; not for worry but to give undivided attention to finding a viable solution to the adversity. Think through the adversity, exploring a variety of options as to how to deal with it. Stories abound of how some who were faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, somehow mustered strength to carry on and in some cases found lasting solutions during moments of intense reflections on the matters at hand. It seems to me and some scholars agree that there is virtually a solution to every adversity. If we will give our undivided attention towards brainstorming, researching and reflection (hanging on to the belief that we are well able to thrive) with the aim of finding viable solutions, in most cases than not, a solution will emerge.

I am also of the conviction that the God factor is essential in this whole mix. Do give God room to operate; simply invite him to intervene; ask him for the grace and ideas required to thrive amidst the torturous adversities of life. Some have found this route to be of immense help and so can you. You can! Yes, you can thrive in the midst of adversity; you can break records and set new records; you sure can. History is littered with many who did and they are no better than you. Thrive in the midst of adversity. Yes, you can! You sure can!

Written by Daniel Dela Dunoo – a freelance writer, published author, theologian, professional marketer and the founder of Top-notch Writing Solutions.Email:       Blog: /

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