The Value of Adversity

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In life and in business it is never just smooth sailing and if it is, then it won’t be for long. Fact is, that in most cases, smooth isn’t interesting either. If you look at a tree that is twisted and had to grow left and right to reach the light, you will spend more time looking at it than the tree that grows straight up into the sky with no adversity. Don’t you agree? Adversity also the root of interesting stories and the challenge that we face in our lives. Without adversity there is no success. It’s like the spoiled child who gets money from dad, there’s no adversity hence no success. But if you start your own business with fifty bucks in your pocket and you struggle to make ends meet, that’s adversity. If then you turn your business into a successful venture and make lots of money – well that’s success. Even if you don’t make lots of money it is a success because you created something out of nothing!

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me… You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth can be the best thing in the world. – Walt Disney

I cherish adversity because it makes me use all the tools in my arsenal, it pushes me to think harder, go outside of my comfort zone and with every success I achieve I become a little more daring, a little more audacious. Ten years ago, if you would have asked me to invest a thousand dollars into a business that I don’t control, I would have send no. Today, I will invest hundreds of thousands of my own money if I believe in the people that will run it. Business is all about calculated risk!

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.   – Napoleon Hill

People are always very creative when it comes to making excuses why they can’t take a risk or make a bold move in their lives. They fear change more than they want the spoils of success. I always say that excuses are for employees – you will never amount to anything if you only make excuses (unless you are a politician).

If you go to the gym and you sit on the bike for your cardio, will you leave the resistance at zero or will you turn it up in order to get a good workout? You know the answer and its the same in business. The more resistance you add to your life the bigger the potential reward. The corner stone of this philosophy is self-belief. Trust in your abilities and learn from every mistake. I’m not a great believer so I don’t subscribe to the idea that some higher power has charted the course of our lives. Everything you achieve or don’t achieve is the direct result of how badly you want it, how much energy you are willing to invest in order to overcome adversity and to reach your goal. Its all about ability and discipline – nothing else. If you don’t get what you want, then you just don’t want it bad enough to put in the effort. 

I like the example of riding a bike because being an entrepreneur is an uphill battle for a considerable amount of time. You may emerge as the winner and people will call you a champion, a visionary or a genius but before you get there you have to climb that hill and its hard. It is easy to use all of your tools, your power and connections once you have acquired them but until that’s the case you have to fight for every little inch of ground. Provoking change is the most rewarding thing in the world both spiritually and economically. Whether you want to loose 50 pounds or make a million dollars – you have to fight the fight in order to get there and you will face a lot of resistance along the way. 

If you have an idea, a vision or a dream and you think you can pursue it, I urge you never to give up on it and never expect others to believe in it the same way you do. You will inevitably encounter adversity in many forms. Will your idea be accepted by the market? Is your product or service really up to standard? Will you get the funding you need? Can you find the right, key employees? There are so many obstacles that we have to overcome but you should tackle them, one at a time. Always be ready to tune your ways a little in order to make it work but never compromise on your final goals.

The people who urged you to stop will be the same ones who will applaud you and say I told you so… Never pay much attention to opinions around you unless they have a full understanding of what you are trying to achieve. If they haven’t been through what you are going through then their advice will be of little to no value to you. Don’t listen to advice from people who haven’t achieved anything relevant to your goals. It’s a waste of time and the best you can do is ignore it.

I know a few people who are tried to launch their own business but they faltered when they had to overcome adversity because they paid too much attention to the opinions in their environment. When you have an idea you must pursue it relentlessly and let your mindset be like a rock in the ocean surf – nothing must move you or keep you from moving forward.

In life and in business, the strongest bonds and biggest successes are forged in the fire of adversity so I urge you to embrace it and to work hard and sacrifice what you have to in order to achieve your goals. If you don’t give it your all then they were never your true goals but rather dreams. It is important to distinguish between dreams and goals because you can dream of growing wings but you can achieve flight in your own private plane… You can dream to read minds but you may become an expert in reading people’s behaviour and tells. One thing you can achieve and the other you can’t and if you make the mistake of wanting what is not possible then you will likely break, fail and not amount to anything. So determine your objectives wisely, pick your battles and win.

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