Adversity Can Yield Opportunities
Life is a roller coaster of events with hills and valleys. Life in the valley can be extremely hard at times; but there are lessons to be learned about life and about you.
Looking back on my life there have been many low points. The lowest point was three years ago when I was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. Up until that time, however, there were many other experiences that devastated me.
What was the lowest point of your life? What discovery did you make about yourself as a result of this experience? How has your life been changed for the better since this experience? What opportunities resulted?
Many of us have had life-changing experiences: divorce, loss of a job or loved one, illness, bankruptcy, or injury. We oftentimes come away reeling with feelings of being overwhelmed, lost, depressed, and hopeless. Our lives are filled with challenges during difficult times. We go through an incredible feeling of stress.
Upon reflection, we can look back at these tough times and see how our perspectives have changed. Out of adversity comes opportunity. Many times there have been positive results from negative experiences. In the long run, some of the changes that were forced upon us were for the better. We grew to be different in some way. We grew stronger by taking a new path. We learned valuable life lessons that help us to avoid future mistakes and live our lives differently.
For example, out of a divorce comes an opportunity to find a more suitable life partner. When our jobs are terminated, we are forced to look at a career change, further our education, or become self-employed. Many times we are better off having been through the hard time and realize that we would never have made the positive change without having had the negative experience first.
With adversity comes change. Change is inevitable - it's how you react to the changes in your life that makes all the difference. Change is a catalyst for growth. Growth brings incredible opportunities.
Surely we regret the bad times in our lives and wish that we could have done something to avoid them. For me, I wish I hadn't been riding my bicycle on that trail at the moment the tree fell. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
My life was drastically changed in an instant. Granted, I have endured a most painful, traumatic event. But now I see how many wonderful experiences would never have happened to me, had I not been on my bicycle that day.
For example, I would not be writing this article, writing an inspirational memoir, nor presenting inspirational keynote speeches. All of these came about because of the pain and suffering that I endured and life lessons I wish to share. As I strive to make my life have meaning, I share what I have learned with others.
Other incredible opportunities are in my near future. I will be carrying the Olympic torch in Columbus and will be a contestant in the Ms. Wheelchair America-Ohio Pageant this coming winter. Neither of these honors would have come my way had I not been injured.
As we realize that there are positive outcomes from negative situations, we become open to possibilities. We realize that we have limited our abilities by not focusing on the positives. Once we realize that something good can come from an incredibly bad situation, we are no longer paralyzed in fear about our future. Instead we are able to bounce back from failure, tragedy, major setbacks, and disappointments as we look forward to new opportunities. Adversity should be looked at as a detour and not a disaster.
� Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. would like to read your comments about her column and the impact it has made on your life. She also encourages your ideas for future columns.