I have recently started following an up and coming motivational speaker based out of the US named Eric Thomas. Eric has a very inspirational story and is doing some incredible work to help the inner city youth throughout the country.
In one of his talks to a group of students, he describes dropping out of high school and spending over 2 years of his life homeless and living in fear on a daily basis. This was a very common theme in the area he grew up in. He then states that that period of his life is actually his greatest gift! After feeling the pain of living on the streets, he overcame the odds, completed high school and college and is now an international speaker working on his PhD.
From the moment I heard his story and the way he described his hardships as a gift, my perspective was forever changed. I started thinking about all of the times in my life where I felt overwhelmed or frustrated by my circumstances. Luckily for me, my situation was never as dire as being homeless or living in fear for my safety. My problems were very minor in comparison. Why then, was I reacting with the same amount of stress and overwhelm as someone in a much worse position?
I realized that I was basically spoiled. I think many of us in this part of the world are. We have been sheltered from so many hardships that it has actually made us soft and in some cases very weak.
We should embrace our challenges and move towards those things that we are afraid of. Instead of talking ourselves out of a risky idea, we should focus on the potential benefits of our ideas and lean into them.
As a former corporate employee turned business owner, I think about all of the problems I inherited by giving up my salary to go out on my own. I have had times where I didn’t know if my business would survive another month, times where I had to confront a client that was becoming increasingly difficult to work with, times where I did not get paid thousands of pounds owed to me for work completed (not to mention many other issues). These are among many of the reasons why people talk themselves out of ever trying to start a business for themselves.
The truth is that each one of those hardships has strengthened me. They are assets that I use in my own personal arsenal to keep me motivated and driving forward toward my goals. Every time I conquer a new challenge, I see myself as a bigger person who is now capable of achieving more than ever before.
Hardships in life are an asset. Instead of avoiding them, seek them out and face them head on.