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05 Aug Adversity Breeds Opportunity

You may have heard the saying, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

Regardless of what kind of setback and adversity you may have experience, there is always a potential opportunity for success behind it.

When I was in primary school, I found myself struggling in my school work and exams. I was not academically inclined, I was uninterested neither am I a bright student. Needless to say, with that kind of attitude, out of four subjects that I took, I failed all four exams. I was not allowed to be promoted to the next grade. My self -esteem plunged dramatically.

“Serve you right! Stupid dope! Such a failure! You will never amount to anything”

“I think you will grow up to be a trash collector, I don’t think you’ll ever be successful in Life!”

Those hurtful and curt remarks became my Wake Up call for change. It was painful when it was said by someone close to you. At that point, I resented it, however, I have decided to turn my pain and hurt into constructive action, I have made a choice to work very hard to prove that person wrong.

After my failure, I pushed myself to be a solution oriented thinker, I study REAL hard. While others spend only 2 hours a day to study, I decided to put in more effort and spend at least 4-6 hours, burning the midnight oil almost every night. I decided to commit to excellence. I work hard consistently and humbly managed to achieve 1st in Class when I was in Secondary school, I know it would not be possible if I had not failed.

Looking back, it has been slightly over two decades since I failed at school. I am glad I didn’t choose a victim mentality. I was tempted to believe there is nothing I could do to achieve good grades and should resign to my fate, however, I refused to succumb to despair and took personal responsibility for my action.

I have forgiven the person who passed those hurtful remarks. I have let go of any resentment against that person. In fact, I think I should be thankful for those statements made.

I have come to understand, a life free of all obstacles and failures would reduce all possibilities for growth and learning opportunities.

Watch how a kite fly the highest when it is flying against the strong resistance of the wind. When there is no wind, the kite will fall to the ground unable to fly at all. The very element that gives resistance to flying is the condition for the kite to soar at it’s peak.

How does a speedboat geared into power? It is through resistance.The main obstacle that it has to overcome is the water against the propeller, yet if it were not for this same resistance, the boat would not move at all.

Lessons I have learned: Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility. Mistake sometimes do pave the road to achievement. Allow failure and pain to motivate you toward greater strength and creativity to move forward.

As you experience adversity, obstacles or failures, spend some time to think all the good things that can come of them. Maintain a positive mind- set as you take action to move forward.

Here are some questions to ask each time you face adversity:

1) What can I learn from my failure and setback?

Never be so consumed by the events that gets you overwhelm and miss the whole learning experience.

2) How can I turn my failure into a success?

Figure out what went wrong and use it to our benefit. At times, the benefit comes from learning something that will help you avoid similar mistake in the future

3) What are the areas that I need to change and take action?

Find out the areas that need improvement and take steps to change your response to failure by accepting responsibility.

4) Focus on your strengths. How can you use your talent and skills to overcome your setbacks?

Brainstorm and list all your strengths and maximize them to your advantage.

You may not always determine every circumstance in life, but you could determine your choice of attitude toward every circumstance. Learn to view your setbacks as stepping stones to greater achievements.

Regina Cho

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