“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” –Arnold Schwarzenegger
Think your problem is worse than other people’s? If YES, then let me start by warning you that thinking that way is VERY likely to be a mistake. And if you go on thinking that way, you will end up believing that no one can help you. Funny thing about our thoughts, when repeated long enough, is that they tend to manifest in the physical just as we imagined them.
In otherwords, by thinking(to yourself) that there is NO solution to the problem(s) you have for instance, you could actually end up not finding any solution to it – no matter how much help you get!
In my language (Yoruba), we have a VERY wise saying that goes thus: “He that has a head has no cap, and he that has a cap has no head”.
The morale of that saying is that for each of us there will be different strokes or experiences. Life will dish out challenges to us according to our abilities.
We must therefore learn to avoid complaining and instead face whatever challenges we encounter head on. That way, we will not be overwhelmed by them. And if we hang in there long enough, we will breakthrough.
Jim Rohn wrote that even though life’s challenges will always give us reason to want to give up and/or complain, we must avoid doing either. And as he so rightly observes, complaining about our problems only “adds to the downward pull of life”. I think the irony of it all, is that just as you feel the struggles you are going through are the worst possible, there is quite often(if you look carefully and honestly enough) someone else who will tell you his/her own story and make yours look like a “fairy tale”!
A True Story
Let me briefly share with you the story of a fellow entrepreneur, who I will call Taiye, who during one particularly tough year(as he narrated it to me) had a barrage of bad luck thrown at him from every conceivable direction.
First, he – and his family – were thrown out by their landlady for not being able to pay rent. To earn income to supplement the little he brought in, his pregnant wife had to mount a stand along the roadside selling vegetables which he grew on a piece of land someone let him use.
Then one day she took ill(while still carrying the pregnancy), was admitted to the hospital, and for months barely hung on to life as he struggled to pay her mounting medical bills.
Despite all these he remained focussed, borrowed money when he could, did odd jobs and eventually his wife recovered, the baby was born safely etc. Looking back, he told me he never thought he would arrive where he is today. All those setbacks occurred at a time when business was really bad for him, making it all the more difficult and painful to go on.
It was – according to him – like a cruel conspiracy of fateful events had been visited upon him. Yet, he hung in there.
He also pointed out that his “hanging in there” successfully was made “easier” NOT because he never considered giving up, but because he had eliminated all possible sources of retreat (sound familiar?).
Use Bad Experiences As Stepping Stones To Succeed!(Another True Story)
I have had some nasty experiences driving along the Benin-Ore road(with my family in the car) on three unforgettable occasions. One time, my car stopped because of failed engine valves, a bad alternator and a resultant run down battery.
From 1.00pm in the evening till 10.00pm at night we were at Ore, where a team of “crack” roadside mechanics took my engine apart and put it back together – with me watching closely and asking questions(What I learnt that day about car engines, serves me well today!). After it all, we declined the offer to take up accommodation at a rundown motel there, and resumed our journey at 10.30 pm to get to Benin. I drove at over 150km/hr in the hope that armed robbers(if any) on the way would be too scared to stop us.
Apart from terrible potholes we ran into because of this, I also ended up losing a wheel cover. While sharing this experience with a colleague later on, I vividly recall him saying “I’ve never lost a single wheel cover since I started driving along that road.”
Although I did not take him up on it, that statement immediately struck me as rather naive. If a person measures his progress by the fact that s/he’s never had anything go wrong with his/her plans, then s/he is in big trouble. The only way nothing will ever go wrong with anything you do(or plan to do) is if you never do(or plan to do) something you have never done before! In other words you would be risk-averse. If you are, then you will also be success-repellent!!
My personal experiences as a person who has ALWAYS thrived(and often emerged better off) in the midst of problems and challenging experiences tells me you learn most, and mature faster, when you embark on intelligent risk-taking and mistake making.
So what if you never have a setback or nothing bad or embarrassing ever happens to you? That says nothing to anyone really.
If anything, it confirms that you will not be remembered for anything exceptional or outstanding either. Why? Because you would not have ventured beyond what you believe you can pull off. That would mean you will only be found doing those things you already know how to do – and most people are very good at that, so it wouldn’t be a great achievement by any means.
Athletes run up hills to build leg muscles and stamina. Running on level ground would have been “easier”, but would not push them to break new thresholds of performance. Those who work out – to build muscles – subscribe to the axiom “No pain. No gain” because they know if they do not continue to INCREASE the weight of dumb-bells they lift, their biceps/other muscles would NOT continue to grow in size!
The same rule applies in the intellectual realm:
“The brain that is not used suffers atrophy” – Thomas Edison
“The mind must be exercised if it is to grow and strengthen. The more you use your mind, the more it will improve your ability to think” – Jay Anderson
James Cook, author of the best selling book “The Startup Entrepreneur” called those bad experiences “Shrewd Instructors”. They teach hard lessons, which inevitably equip anyone who undergoes them, to succeed. A person who makes a habit of taking the short term comfort route by avoiding difficulty, adversity, hardship etc is likely to end up also “avoiding” long-term success, and may end up missing a chance(s) to achieve a worthwhile existence.
The following quotes sum it up quite well.
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
“A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other.” – M. C. Richards
So, now that you know(or have been REMINDED of) the above BENEFITS, are you done yet with mulling over your misfortune? You should be. It’s time you went back out there to make things happen the way you want them to!
“The world steps aside for the man who knows. where he is going” – Abraham Lincoln
You’re reading Think Your Problem Is Worse Than Other People’s? Cheer Up & Use It As A Stepping Stone To Success! by Tayo Solagbade, originally posted on his Daily Self-Development (SD) Nuggets™ blog. If you loved reading this post, be sure to follow Tayo on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
On 4th May 2014, Tayo’s 9 year old domain (Spontaneousdevelopment dot com), was taken over by Aplus.net. Within a few days however, Tayo used his advanced self-taught web development skills to build (and move his website contents into) a SUPERIOR “reincarnation” at http://www.tayosolagbade.com.
Most URLs bearing the old domain name appearing in search engines should now work if “spontaneousdevelopment.com” is replaced with “tayosolagbade.com”. If you experience any difficulties finding a page or document, email Tayo at tksola dot com.
Click “Tayo, What Happened to SpontaneousDevelopmentDotCom?” to read a detailed narrative about how the above event occurred :-))
Here’s an article Tayo wrote, to inspire others to defy adversity, and bounce back to even greater reckoning at what they do EVERY time:
Succeed by Emerging from Adversity Like a Phoenix (TayoSolagbade.com launches extra Hosting plan with FREE Web Marketing!)
And he wrote the one below, to explain why losing a domain name, no matter how old NO LONGER determines your online success or otherwise: