Let’s face it. Painful personal trauma and tragedy – like illness or injury, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or an unexpected breakup of a relationship – are unavoidable. The question is: Will these private calamities erode our capacity to be happy or cause us to become stronger and better able to live a meaningful and fulfilling life?
Consider how differently carrots, eggs, and ground coffee beans are affected by the extreme adversity of being boiled. Like a carrot, adversity can soften us. We can emerge more flexible, understanding, compassionate, and grateful, or we can let our life spirit turn into a soft mush.
Like an egg, boiling water can make us harder, stronger, tougher, and wiser, or we can become more cynical, pessimistic, callous, and inaccessible.
And like a coffee bean, we can willingly transform our lives into something better or lose ourselves completely.
We can’t control what happens to us, but we have a lot to say about how we react and, therefore, what happens in us. The first step to turning adversity into advantage is to get out of the hot water as quickly as possible. Don’t dwell on catastrophe. Grieve, but move on. Don’t define your life by misfortune.
Second, force yourself to move forward. Draw on your inner strengths, the people who love you, and your faith to transform your life into something better. Formulate a vision of a more purposeful life filled with people and experiences that will help you become more fulfilled.