In our recent article “The Lessons of 2020,” we discussed the various lessons that 2020 is currently presenting to people. In this article we take that idea a step further and discuss the idea that the challenges presented to us in life are actually gifts. Looking at life this way will transform your perspective on everything that happens.
Adversity Shapes Your Journey
In Matt Kahn’s book “Everything is Here to Help You: Finding the Gift in Life’s Greatest Challenges,” he argues that although people may not prefer adversity and challenges, they can actually be gifts. These situations can greatly shape our journey going forward.
Great examples are The Great Depression and WWII. Not a single American escaped the touch of either. People dealt with some aspect of each nearly every day. Families feared for the safety of their loved ones. Meanwhile, many were angry and frustrated with their personal situation. There was plenty of sadness and judgment to go around.
Out of these experiences came “The Greatest Generation,” which refers to those who lived through the Great Depression and fought or supported the war. In his book “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokow talks about how “personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith” were important values of the greatest generation. These values were built on the back of adversity.
Thus, these people were shaped by these events. One could argue that we don’t know what the values of these men and women would have been if neither the Great Depression nor WWII had occurred. Although this is true, it is guaranteed that these events shaped the remainder of these people’s lives.
The Gifts of Adversity
Kahn points out the gifts of loss, fear, anger, judgment, sadness, disappointment, and jealousy among others. Although he talks about many of these from the perspective of your ego or soul, these “gifts” can impact many aspects of a person.
Fear, when justified, can literally save your life. Other times it can help you make better choices than you would otherwise.
Sadness, loss, and disappointment are a bit different, but still very powerful gifts. These gifts are ones that can give you appreciation for what you had in the past and what you again will have in the future. Without them, you would not appreciate the blessings nearly as much.
When Gifts Become Burdens
The key to these gifts giving you value is to not let them become a burden. For example, fear is useful to human beings. However, if you become parallelized with fear about everything, it is no longer valuable. Instead, it hinders living your life.
The same is true of loss or disappointment. If you allow that loss to consume you, moving forward is not an option.
Embracing The Gifts
If you embrace the gifts with the perspective of looking for the lessons or the blessings in the adversity, your life will change. Instead of getting caught up in adversity and risk becoming obsessed by it, you will more easily be able to see a way forward.
The simple act of looking for a lesson or blessing in something, no matter how bad it is, immediately changes your life for the better. Why? Because you are no longer focused on the adversity. Instead, you are focused on finding something positive. So, next time you are faced with adversity, ask yourself, “What is the lesson or blessing in this?” It will transform your perspective.