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Jim’s Gems: Overcoming Adversity

July 30, 2013
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Last week I was meeting with a former colleague when she told me about a demanding issue that she found herself facing in her work workplace. After many years of successes, she found herself in the middle of an unexpected situation in which she felt trapped. 

While I listened to her describe the exact nature of her problem, I realized she was looking for counsel. So I began to engage in more intense, active listening.  During the discussion I was drawn to the fact that adversity is a necessary and ongoing part of life.  Our belief or faith can have a profound effect on the outcome.

Every adversity or challenge carries the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Napoleon Hill is most often credited with presenting this idea in his classic book, “Think and Grow Rich”, which has literally altered the lives of millions of people all over the world.  If you haven’t read Hill’s 1937 landmark book of motivational and personal development, I would highly encourage you to do so.   In essence, the answer to my colleague’s problem could be found in his text.

I have always found it interesting that while most people say they believe that adversity comes with opportunities that have equal or greater benefit, their actions tell a different story. Many years ago I discovered what I have come to believe is a truism.  If what we believe does not affect our behavior, then it is doubtful that we really believe it!

For most of us, it is so easy to overlook that most of what we want in our personal or professional lives is actually contained in the challenges we face.  What Napoleon Hill discovered was that everyone is faced with adversity but transforming adversity into opportunities is the essence of what success is about.

When I mentioned this to my friend, her demeanor significantly changed.  Instead of being “beaten down” she became more enthusiastic and “up-beat” about opportunities that were presented in her challenge.  She focused on possibility thinking.  By the time the conversation was finished, she had came up with a plan to turn her challenge into something positive.  She was delighted when she was able to visualize the opportunity that was actually camouflaged in her problem.

Bottom line, some beliefs require faith.  My friend said she believed that adversity came with opportunities but her actions were not reflecting her beliefs; therefore, she was unable to see the opportunities.  It takes faith to see the benefit contained in any challenges.  You see, faith is not restricted to religion. It also relates to strength in our convictions and confidence in our ability to overcome obstacles.

Faith is one of the most important skills that can be developed.  How do you develop faith? The best way to develop more faith is to hold true to what you really believe even when it cannot be proven.  Don’t be swayed from the convictions you hold within your inner core.  Faith that is based on what you know to be true will move you beyond any challenge that will come your way.

Take some time to consider what you really believe and if you are living by those beliefs.  Remember that if what you think you believe does not affect your behavior, then it is doubtful that you really believe it. 

Think about it.

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