“Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” — James Buckham
I was reading Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords for Success on adversity, which Mike Krzyzewski mentioned that, “what separates good teams and individuals from great ones is the manner in which they handle adversity.”
I could not have agree more with that. Adversity provides an unique opportunity for one to grow, to discover about oneself and to breakthrough personal limits. In his book, Beyond Basketball, he mentioned that, “whenever I face adversity, I look at the problem and then beyond the problem. I look for the positive impact it will have on me, my team, or my family.”
I would never have understood that, not until two years ago when I was in Philippines and going through it myself.
I had stayed in the Philippines for almost one and a half year in 2003 – 2005 in Makati and in Davao City. I stayed in Davao City for about 8 months and I loved the city. I would say it has the best of both world. Being a city, it has many amenities and facilities that come with a city but at the same time, you will get to enjoy peaceful moment at night like in the countryside. Basically it is also a safe place to live in; I remember I was walking alone in the street 2, 3 a.m. in the morning and I did not feel threatened in anyway.
And what about this city that taught me to handle adversity? There was once I had to make a trip to a college which is about an hour or two away by taxi. I was pretty excited to be given an opportunity to present to a group of students. Throughout the journey to the college, I was going through the presentation in my mind and at the same time enjoying the scenic view on the way to the college.
When I reached the college, the students were already in the lecture hall waiting for me to start my presentation. Without any further delay, I set up my projector and the laptop. Within minutes, I was good to go. There was only one challenge; the laptop refused to power up or rather the hard disk had crashed. Basically, the laptop had chosen the ‘most appropriate time’ to break down and had it not broken down, I would not have had the opportunity to grow.
My presentation slide was in the laptop and even if I had a soft copy of the presentation slide, there were no other computers or laptops which I could use. And so I stood there for a moment facing the group of about 20-30 students and their eyes were all looking at me and waiting for me to start. What could I do? I had no choice, or rather I was already given a choice; the show must go on.
I saw a white board just besides me, I asked for a few white board markers and so the show began. At first I was worried as I did not know how I should do the presentation or what I should say; I had never done the same presentations on white board before. But within five minutes into the presentation, I found that everything started flowing naturally to my mind. In fact it was much better if I could say; the session was more interactive and engaging.
Since I didn’t need to follow the presentation slide, I allowed more questions from the student. Do you think the students enjoyed the session? I certainly believe they did.
What occurred that day was not only a learning experience for the students, but also a good learning experience for me. I remember a quotation that states, “Remember that challenges are not there to stop you. The challenges are there to help you grow.” Similarly, adversity provides us with opportunities not only to grow but also to breakthrough the limits that we set for ourselves. Adversity challenges us to change our own beliefs from ‘I don’t think it can be done,’ to ‘it can.’
Right now you could be going through adversities in your life especially with the bad economy. But remember adversity are there for a reason, to challenge you to challenge yourself.
The author, Boon Kiat Chua is the founder and owner of Symphony of Love, a website about Love and Inspiration in life. Symphony of Love