True Success: “The degree to which one makes progress despite all adversity.”
Have you ever watched a cycling race, like the Tour de France? The speed is impressive when they’re going down a hill or riding a tail wind! – 40, 50, or even 60 miles an hour! But the real test of good cyclists is how well they ride going uphill, or against a strong head wind. In fact, that’s how they train. They look for hills to climb, and head winds to fight… because that’s what makes them stronger and gives them endurance for the real test on race day. If you needed someone to ride a bike to save your life, you’d look for someone who has spent a lot of time riding uphill or into a headwind.
Adversity makes us stronger as we battle through it. But not everyone chooses to embrace their obstacles or welcomes adversity. In fact, many young athletes whine, complain, and run the other way when things get tough or ugly. It seems like people fall into one of three categories when it comes to handling adversity.
First, there are a lot of “Prisoners” out there. They’re the ones who give up and say, “It’s no use; It’s impossible” and “I quit.” They’re controlled by their circumstances and their anger. Next, we have the “Settlers”. They say things like, “This isn’t fair” or, “This is as good as I can do; it’s good enough.” They always search for what’s comfortable, not for what’s best. But then there are the “Pioneers” who stand above their circumstances and say things like, “I can find a way; I choose to fight” and “I believe it’s possible”. Their mindset is different, as if to say, “I love a challenge…bring on the problems!”
Pioneer thinking is different and more beneficial than Prisoner and Settler thinking, and your child can learn to think this way. The next time your child runs into any kind of adversity, have a conversation about these three steps.
First, look for the lesson – there’s something to learn that will add value to the challenge. Ask the question, “What can be learned from this?” Second, reconsider any assumptions you’ve made about what can and can’t be done. Some walls aren’t walls at all once you take a closer look. Know that there’s a way to effectively go through the adversity. Lastly, be willing to change your present strategies to get different results in the future. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. Pioneers use adversity to reinvent themselves and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The biggest difference is that Pioneer thinking views adversity as an opportunity, not a threat. Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Teach your children to say: “Thanks for the challenge….I need the practice!”