The Opportunity of Adversity

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I just finished a 4-month cycle of adversity with my son.  I like to call it a cycle because adversity has a difficult beginning with the potential of a happy ending.

My son is a high school pitcher with aspirations to play professional baseball.  At the beginning of the spring season, he developed an intense fear of failure.  His drive for perfection caused him to lose his technique and his confidence.  This couldn’t have come at a worse time because in high school you only have a few short seasons to get noticed by colleges and his season was a disaster.

I immediately began training him on how to harness the power of his mind.    We used hypnosis, NLP strategies and mental toughness techniques to retrain his brain.  I told him that something great was going to come out of this if he did this one thing.  He had to have a positive attitude about the bad experience.   He agreed.

One day, his pitching coach asked him to move to the other side of the mound.  He refused and said it didn’t feel right.  His coach kept trying for weeks.  One day he agreed to try it.  Suddenly he was pitching better than ever.  It was like someone plugged him in and everything was working in perfect harmony.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

If he had not been through that terrible spring season, he would have never developed the mental skills he needed to for his future.  He would have never changed his position on the mound.  He had to get out of his comfort zone and do something that felt awkward and scary.

Last week, a college scout approached me after watching him pitch and said, “I love this kid.  I want him.”  I’m glad I had sunglasses on because my eyes were filled with tears.

We can’t seem to escape adversity.  Failure, disappointment, problems and pain all have a special purpose.  They develop our strength and to help us take control of our minds.

People who have been through a great deal of adversity are either mentally tough or weak and beaten down.  What separates the two?

We have 3 choices when faced with adversity.

We can let it define us.  We can live inside the story of “What Happened to Me”.   We let our story become who we are and what we talk about the most.

We can let it destroy us.  We can accept defeat and give up.   We can live in a place of suffering and allow the adversity to becomes an excuse.

We can learn from it and let it strengthen us.   We can do the work and allow the adversity take us to the next level.

Our strength grows out of weakness just as a pearl grows inside an oyster.

A pearl begins as a foreign object that irritates the oyster.   The oyster takes defensive action and secretes a crystalline substance around the object to protect itself.   Over time, this irritant becomes a lustrous pearl.

It works like this.  Something bad happens to us. Something good may come out of it later, but it depends on the way we view the experience.  Do we have positive or negative thoughts?   A good attitude or a bad attitude?

In other words, the bad experience will become a pearl only if we maintain a positive mindset about it.   The positive mindset is like the crystalline substance that forms the pearl.

Adversity has great value and will pay big dividends in the future.

When you are going through a tough time, maintain a positive attitude and wait for the pearl to develop.   While you are waiting, say nice things to yourself such as,  “Something good will come of this” or “ This hurts now but it is all part of a greater plan”

Then get to work.  Make a plan and take action.  Learn how to operate your mind.  Stay out of the emotion and inside the solution.  Allow yourself to be uncomfortable while the magic happens. It’s all part of the process.

Allow the adversity to activate your limitless power and it will give you an inspirational story to tell!

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