The Power to Keep Moving Forward Through Difficult Times
There’s nothing like a roadblock or stumble to throw you off course, and remind you that life is not always sunshine and rainbows. Cliché, though it may be, it is simply a fact of life that there will be both good and bad times. What life has taught me, which is so promising about the bad or down times, is that some of my greatest triumphs and rebirths have occurred right after I’ve been down.
Adversity forces us to think strategically about what we want and how we can get it. Adversity is one of life’s greatest assets.
“In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage.” — Robert Collier
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you embrace what could be a tough time or a period of suffering, and place value on how you can learn from it and come back stronger, you will have mastered one of life’s most valuable skills. As you go along, you may find that in order to improve, you need not always try harder, but rather to think and work smarter.
There’s a correlation here to the moment an idea or thought crosses our minds, serving as the impetus to rise from the proverbial ashes or disappointment we find ourselves in. We need to take life head-on and determine how we can transform any and all situations to our advantage.
Exactly seven years ago, my grandmother passed away. Fortunately, it is still the first death that has occurred in my immediate family. I say, “immediate family” because my Grandma was family.
We grew up in a modest apartment complex on Long Island, about 20 miles outside of Manhattan. My Grandma lived in the building right next to mine. We formed a close relationship from the time I was just a little guy. I learned so much from her about positive living, kindness, faith and what it means to live with grace and class. My Grandma was a truly special person.
During the final year of her life, she was suffering terribly from osteoporosis and as a result, her physical body was badly weakened. Physically, she had become a shell of who she once was. All of this was compounded by a fire in her apartment building, during the final month of her life, which forced her to move into a senior nursing home for the final several weeks of her life.
It was a tremendous amount for any person to have to deal with. It also took its toll on my Mom, who was very much best friends with her mother, my Grandma. During all of this time, my Grandma never wanted anyone to feel sorry for her. She simply wanted us to continue to run our own race.
She told us all not to worry about her, instead to focus on ourselves and how we could live each day to the fullest. I think of this story in the context of living out our goals, exemplifying our values and making a positive difference. We’re going to get knocked down or people we know, love and care about are going to get knocked down.
It’s going to impact us and frankly, it’s going to feel easy to want to just give up right then and there. That’s what adversity can do to us. But I think back to my Grandma and what she wanted from all of us. To never quit. To always believe in ourselves and keep moving forward with confidence and faith.
Take Action and Believe That Good Does Come from Bad
We can think in our minds and reinforce positive thought all we want, but our actions will dictate whether our circumstances change from bad to good. What are we going to do about it? I can want something with all of my heart and mix that desire with faith, but unless my actions provide the fuel for the engine, I remain in the same spot.
In art, just like in life, there are always critics. Depending on our fields of work and our chosen pursuits, sometimes, there is simply ignorance to what we produce. The key is to progress forward, regardless of what others say about you.
Always prepare and always take the time to confront any adversity with a winner’s mindset. If you’re operating with positive conviction and belief in yourself, you’re more than halfway there. In fact, you’re far ahead of the pack.
The biggest battles we encounter are often the ones we fight in our own minds. It’s not easy to soldier on, even when the ones who care about us most are encouraging us to do so. Just understand that this is normal. Bad times will come. It’s how we rise up and approach these moments — how we prepare to conquer them — that makes the difference.
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