Adversity Exposed

Unknown-3It is often said that it’s not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens that makes all the difference in the end. When it comes to facing adversity, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When facing adversity it’s important to acknowledge that we always have the freedom to choose how we respond to people, events and circumstances. We can respond in a very negative or limiting way, or we can choose to respond in a more optimal and productive way that can potentially open doors and windows of opportunity that we weren’t aware of before.

To dig even deeper; all of us have the freedom to choose our own beliefs, words, thoughts, and the attitude we bring into every situation. In fact, we also have freedom to choose the level of effort and determination we bring into every moment.

When you have a thought, this immediately triggers feelings. In fact, the internal dialogue you have with yourself manufactures your emotional experiences. Therefore if you think/talk negatively about a situation then this will typically cause you to feel stressed, fearful or overwhelmed. And this certainly has nothing to do with the situation, but rather everything to do with how you have interpreted the situation.

Given all this, it’s clear to see that how we handle adversity has nothing to do with what happens to us, but rather everything to do with the “kind of person” we bring into each situation. As such, it’s absolutely paramount that we accept full responsibility for the role we play in each moment. You are after all in the driver’s seat of your life, however it’s easy to forget the power you have when you respond emotionally to our circumstances.

With that in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that the only thing that matters is:

             How I see the obstacle I face…

             How I respond to this adversity…

             How I maintain my composure when facing adversity…

             The story I tell myself about what is going on…

It essentially always comes down to the story you tell yourself. In fact, it is the story that will either empower you or deflate you emotionally; it is the story that will either help you move forward or hold you back; it is the story that will either open the doors to opportunity or send you into the pits of despair. Adversity has absolutely everything to do with the story! The story you tell yourself is what effectively determines your next steps moving forward.

A Crash Course Called Apathy

n-DAVIS-largeA recent article from Yahoo! News describes a 21-year-old Australian girl named Kimberly Davis (pictured) who was texting and driving when she hit a cyclist from behind, throwing him from his bike and leaving him with multiple injuries, including a fractured spine that required emergency surgery and left him in a wheelchair for months. Did she care? Apparently not. In fact, she was actually angry at the cyclist. After the accident, Davis left the man on the side of the road and refused to help him. When officers later questioned her about the accident, she said, “I just don’t care…and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it…. I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car.”

As hard as it is to believe that anyone could be so apathetic and self-centered, this is a true story. And unfortunately, Miss Davis got off pretty easy considering her recklessness and the harm she did to the cyclist. She was fined approximately $4,200 and lost her driver’s license for 9 months. She spent no time in jail. We can only hope that Miss Davis will do some real soul searching while she’s riding in others’ cars for a while. Because if she doesn’t she’s on a different sort of crash course that will leave her the seriously injured one.

Who you are is up to you. It’s not up to your circumstances. It’s not up to your friends. It’s not even up to your parents. While all the forces around you can have an effect on you, how much they effect you is your decision. The worst thing you can do is take a backseat to your own life and act like you don’t care what happens inside you or around you. Apathy always leads to pain and regret. But apathy is deceptive. It lets you get by for a while—sometimes for years—with little more than a bump or bruise to the ego.

When you’re young, it’s all-too-easy to conclude that apathy isn’t a big deal. It’s a lie that often won’t be revealed until who you are matters most, like when you’re pursuing a dream job or a real relationship with someone you care about—or when you’ve found yourself in a pit you can’t climb out of alone. When who you are suddenly matters, you can’t just flip a switch and change history. Who you are today will follow you and ultimately determine what opportunities, resources, and help you have tomorrow. Don’t wait to be the best you. It’s in your control. And it matters far more than you might be able to see today.