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Struggle creates opportunities: 3 lessons you can learn from misfortunes

In addition to death and taxes, life’s everyday hardships are pretty much to be expected during our time here on earth.

Whether they’re micro, macro, out of our control, or brought upon ourselves, until we’re deceased, we will inevitably have to face hardships to some extent.

There will never be a point in time, for too long at least, where things are easy going and your void of problems. We will all struggle, to some capacity, until death.

If I am bursting your existentialism bubble, I apologize.

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The bright side, however, is that struggle does not always equate negativity. In fact, the language associated with and the behavior that’s been normalized surrounding how we deal with our problems is an issue in itself.

Each and every hurdle we are up against, no matter the consequences that may result from it, also comes with tremendous opportunity.

Being able to realize the opportunity in our shortcomings is more than seeing the glass half-full or being a good sport about a bad circumstance either — the idea has a lot less fluff than that.

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When we accept the challenge falling short — that is, when we look at where we’re not and make up our mind that it’s still where we want to be —  not only are we making light of a dark situation and taking responsibility for our lives but we’re literally choosing to grow, which, ultimately, is the richest reward in life.

There are lessons to be learned from being down, and since we all have been and in the future will be, here are three of them to reference:

Lesson #1: You have work to do

A lot of times when we’re hit out of left field with a speeding ticket, relationship abuse, professional setbacks or what have you, everything is actually going pretty smooth.

There aren’t always telltale signs of when things will begin to go poorly or anything you necessarily have to do wrong so, a lot of times, it feels like betrayal when shit hits the fan. But facing difficulties isn’t a bad thing; it just means we’re not perfect, life is not sweet, and that there is always work to be done.

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Sometimes we’ll never be moved to change or switch up our pattern of approach until something goes wrong. We’ll figure out one wrinkle in life that works well for us and, unless it no longer goes well, stick to that same thing for the rest of our lives. But a life without interruption breeds complacency and complacent is a graveyard for innovation.

Instead of looking at what’s gone wrong in your life as the end of the world or a bad omen, see it as a way to change the way you’ve gone about doing things. There is always work to be done and maybe the reason you’ve found yourself between a rock and a hard place is because you forgot that very point.

Lesson #2: You set your own limits

Another important lesson to be learned when we find ourselves in unfavorable positions in life: this too shall pass.

Another reason people freak out when things don’t go according to their plans is because they can’t envision themselves overcoming.

Instead of going to the drawing board to compose an audible, they lose focus, confidence in who they are, and just shut down — they succumb to limits. But here’s the secret: the only limits we have are the ones we give ourselves.

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No matter how badly you’ve messed things up or think you’ve messed things up, there is always a way to either fix it or recover from it. The lie, however, is that we get stuck in a place of no return or in a place that takes us out of the picture forever when in reality, no such place exists.

The opportunity in falling short is the challenge of getting back up and figuring out how to get there.

Lesson 3: This is to be expected

One of the most important lessons you can learn from setbacks in that they are to be expected.

Too often do we cry victim and curse the universe when things don’t go our way. But the lesson we need to learn when these instances happen is that things aren’t supposed and won’t always go your way. This is to be expected. Shortcomings happen.

The most successful people aren’t the people who seamlessly went about their endeavors, it’s the people who got used to failing.

The individuals who achieve greatness do so because they’re self-aware that they are continual works in progress, they live above limits and they understand that life, at times, won’t go their way.

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In a way, we must be like water — adapting to the punches lives throw at us and trusting that we can reform in stronger and better ways. When we become too fixed on what we want our life to look like and how it must go, we set ourselves up for failure.

Know that curve balls are coming and be ready to adjust your swing when it does.

Struggle, long-suffering, hardship, and all the moments we rather fast-forward in life do not have to break us down. Instead, we should see them as opportunities to improve individually, conquer fears and to toughen up.

We cannot control life, but we can control how life affects us.