The Soul Podcast - Tools For a Joyful Life

The Gift Of Adversity - Turning Bad Times Into Strengths

March 14, 2024 Stacey Wheeler Season 3 Episode 5
The Gift Of Adversity - Turning Bad Times Into Strengths
The Soul Podcast - Tools For a Joyful Life
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The Soul Podcast - Tools For a Joyful Life
The Gift Of Adversity - Turning Bad Times Into Strengths
Mar 14, 2024 Season 3 Episode 5
Stacey Wheeler

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Life is full of adversity.  Every day we face countless little roadblocks, challenges, and trails. How we navigate these will impact our happiness each day.  Adversity can stagger you. But it doesn't have to. In this episode I'll share the secret to reducing the bad and increasing the good.
 
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SHOW NOTES

Quotes:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. - Viktor Frankl

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." -Marcus Aurelius

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

"Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it." -Niels Bohr

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." -Haruki Murakami

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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Life is full of adversity.  Every day we face countless little roadblocks, challenges, and trails. How we navigate these will impact our happiness each day.  Adversity can stagger you. But it doesn't have to. In this episode I'll share the secret to reducing the bad and increasing the good.
 
Watch Videos
The SoulPod on Rumble
The SoulPod on YouTube 

Take the listener survey here


SHOW NOTES

Quotes:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. - Viktor Frankl

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." -Marcus Aurelius

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

"Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it." -Niels Bohr

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." -Haruki Murakami

Support the Show.

Has the show made a difference for you? Click this link for ways you can support the show.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said,

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Welcome to The Soul Podcast. I’m Stacey Wheeler. 

Life is full of adversity.  Every day we face countless little roadblocks, challenges, and trails. How we navigate these will impact our happiness each day. If we allow ourselves to get spun out by the challenge, it can ruin our whole day. If we navigate it well, the challenge can drop behind us like litter in a trash can. Our mental attitude has the greatest impact on how we navigate challenges. Sometimes we can become bothered deeply by things. And this can be anything. Maybe even something that others might consider nothing. An annoying driver in the other lane? An unexpected bill? For some, these simple daily issues may be a minor thing to deal with. For others, these might be cause for a great disturbance in their happiness. What affects our reaction more than anything else is how we react internally to our challenges. Our internal voice sets the tone. And what affects our internal voice is how we look at life’s challenges. When we learn to navigate life’s challenges, we become stronger and more joyful. 

Don’t get me wrong. I understand life’s not always easy and sometimes life can feel dreadful, and terrible things happen. Even with that said, we people have the ability to muster strength we are not even aware we have. We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve had the worst kinds of adversities thrust on them. Yet somehow find the strength to navigate the pain and emerge stronger. Ultimately, no matter what trials we face -the great or the small- we find that mental attitude is what determines whether events break us or make a greater. 

When I was in college, I took a class Holocaust Studies. The class was one of the most challenging, fulfilling and memorable pieces of course work I did there. One semester turned into a whole year, as I willingly took the second class in the series. Not because it was easy (it wasn’t). I took the second class because it was inspiring. The instructor was one of the most renowned researchers on the topic. She’d spent her academic career trying to understand how the Holocaust could happen. How 11 million innocent people could be murdered over nothing more than their beliefs. In her studies she’d met and befriended many prominent Holocaust survivors. And in my time in her class I met many of them. 

I won’t go over the names here, but they are names you might know. They had all lost loved ones in the death camps. Most of those I met had published their stories. And nearly all still had the numbered tattoos on their arms from their time in the camps. I’d read about what they had been through. I had studied the horrors. I’d seen photos and videos. The inhumanity of the Holocaust was inconceivable to me. What was equally unconceivable were the survivors I met. I’ve never met a group of people with more kindness, strength, and optimism. These were people who suffered the worst of horrors. Saw family and friends murdered and were starved, sometimes for years. And each and every one was hopeful, kind and strong. Their hope and strength was stunning to me. 

It's then I began to understand that the road to strength isn’t a nice, smooth paved road. It’s only by navigating treacherous and challenging paths that we achieve strength. Again and again I heard the same message from these people when they were asked about their positive mindsets. Those who wrote about their experiences usually mentioned the key to their survival. Ultimately there was one thing that made all the difference.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said,

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The attitude we view things through matters… possibly more than anything else in our minds.  

Today I’m going to talk about how life’s challenges can be a gift – when we see them through the right eyes. 

Around 2000 years ago, the great stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said,

"Our life is what our thoughts make it."

So, we see that for thousands of years people have understood the power of attitude. The idea is not a new concept. 

Truth Number one: If you think you’re having a terrible life. Your thoughts have led you to that conclusion. Your thoughts can also lead you to a different conclusion… with the right attitude.

About a hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt said, 

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Truth number two: Greatness comes from our developed ability to overcome challenges. Amazing people only exist because they overcome something great.

Think about this for a moment. Consider a person who you consider to be great. GO ahead. Pick someone. It can be a person you know, someone you’ve read about… even a sports figure. Anyone.

What about that person makes them great in your eyes? I’m willing to bet that what makes them great is the things they’ve overcome to achieve the person they are.  Am I right?

Greatness comes from our developed ability to overcome challenges.

Nobel price recipient Niels Bohr said this, 

"Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it."

When we get trapped in a way of thinking, we cannot move forward, we cannot find solutions. 

Third Truth: Thinking differently is how you break out of the rut. 

When we view the world from one direction we are trapped. If your attitude is “life is unfair”… then that becomes your truth. And you are stuck. Your attitude has convinced you you’re a loser. So, what’s the point in even truing? But if your attitude is something like “This is tough, but I can win.” Now, you’re unstuck! You’re in control of your destiny and direction. 

The BIG TRUTH… and final truth is this…. Only you are in control of your attitude. Only YOU can get you unstuck. 

Look, I get it. I’m human too. Life can be difficult, painful, and challenging. Pain is inevitable in this life. There’s no denying that. We all have heartbreaks. We lose loved ones and suffer in countless ways. It is because we have hearts that we have the ability to hurt. It’s all part of the journey. But understand that how much you suffer is up to you. Life will sling a lot of crap at you. And your mental attitude is the only thing that determines how badly life will kick your ass. 

The writer Haruki Murakami puts it this way, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." 

So, what do you do about it? How do you change? 

Practice is the way we become better at anything. Rowing a boat, cooking an egg, driving a car. With all  things, we get better with repetition. 

The gift of adversity is that it is a summoning to be better. Change the way you see problems and change the way you see your life.