next level

The Myth of Adversity and How to Reach the Next Level

Life to me has often been very unusual. On one hand I would compare myself to others who were better off in areas I wanted to strive for. And on the other hand, I would witness these same people lead unfulfilled lives.

Whichever way I looked at it, it seemed as if I was lacking something in my quest for success that others seemed to grasp intuitively.

The harder I worked, the more obstacles I faced and the more failures I encountered. I couldn’t help but become frustrated by the whole thing because no matter what I did, failure would hit me at every turn.

I avoided things like the plague and held off from talking to friends who seemed to make rapid progress in their lives.

Something was wrong and wanted to change it.

What were these people doing to lead successful lives?

The more I asked myself that very question, the more I began to stray away from it.

I realized that the reason why I was often frustrated was because I was putting too much emphasis on success and ignoring the small details in my life that was truly making all the difference.

I mentioned earlier how people who are successful aren’t necessarily fulfilled. This insight gave me a hint as to what success and adversity actually was.

Were these people really successful? or was it something I labelled based on my own definition of success?

The truth is, success is a subjective term that has a different meaning from person to person. What one person might find successful another might find insignificant and vice versa.

So it stands to reason that the key to understanding why we confront adversity in the first place is because of one important factor:


One of the things I learned very early on in my journey is that the more I valued a goal and in achieving a certain thing, the more anxious I got and the harder I worked.

The harder I worked, the more I valued the goal, which created a snowball effect to my anxiety and frustration.

I was so anxious at achieving my goals that it would often frustrate me when things weren’t happening quick enough.

It taught me important lessons and helped me understand why others were more successful at the thing I wanted most.

1) The Law of Indifference

I learned very quickly that the people that were succeeding at the things I wanted were simple – They honestly didn’t care about the end result and simply did what they did due to the pure enjoyment of the activity.

I realized that energy and motivation to succeed didn’t actually come from will power alone, but by passion and excitement, which seemed to be consistent with every person I came into contact with who was successful.

2) Investment

No matter what we do in this world, nothing can ever be valued or seem fulfilling without putting in a level of effort in a task. Some of the most unfulfilled people I’ve ever met have all come from backgrounds where success was consistent.

This gave me a massive realization. I knew at that instant that hardly anything is ever fulfilling if it comes easy. Having truly understood this, I began to look at failure and adversity in a different light.

3) Enjoyment of the journey

When I look back at who I was prior to experiencing failure and adversity, I was a completely different person. i was quiet, shy and often afraid of speaking up in public due to fear of being judged by others.

Having failed a lot in my life over the past 5 years, it gave me the strength to grow and become a better version of myself. the more often I put myself in situations that scared me, the easier it got over time.

The goal once I reached it seemed insignificant because of the person I became along the way.

The Lesson Learned

The best way I can end this personal insight is to look at this in context by asking you the following question:

Are you living your life on purpose?

The three things I listed above were all a result of people I came into contact with who seemed to live the happiest lives, not because they were successful but due to living a life that was directly aligned with their core.

They too experienced adversity, but didn’t seem significant to them at all and saw it as something that simply happened.

The truth is, we can either let adversity help us or hurt us. The key thing is to switch your focus by looking at your life differently and to see it as an adventure – in reality, it is.

Onder Hassan is the owner and publisher of Dawn of Change. A self-confidence blog, using case studies and real world experiences to document his progress. He is also the author of How To Cure Social Anxiety: An Alternative Guide. Sign up for his FREE YOU 2.0 course for a simple strategy to overcoming your fears to help take you to the next level. He can be found on Google+

16 Responses to The Myth of Adversity and How to Reach the Next Level

  1. Great article, Onder! I am a huge believer in enjoying the journey and I’m quite afraid that one day, I would have achieved “everything.” It’s a strange fear, but very real!

  2. Paula says:

    It’s reassuring to know I’m on a similar path to Onder’s experience

  3. Ericson Ay Mires says:

    The truth is, you’ll never stick with what you truly value if you run from adversity.

    Life itself is a journey, a process. You have to learn how to enjoy the good and be able to make use of or live with the bad. But people don’t want to invest if they have to deal with adversity. This prevents people from living their life on purpose.

    In a way, adversity is what determines whether or not you live the life you really want. If you can’t accept it with open arms, then you risk living a life lacking in happiness and satisfaction.

  4. It’s seems like we both have the same experience! It was fun to read your post,Onder! :)

  5. Onder Hassan says:

    Thanks Sandeep. Appreciate you taking the time to read it :)

  6. Onder Hassan says:

    I completely agree.

    It’s the reason why many of us don’t grow. And the people who do and embrace failure are the ones who seem to have this spark in their character that was built by it. It’s weird how failure works. It’s a shame society hasn’t framed it as something that’s positive.

  7. Onder Hassan says:

    Thanks Paula. It’s a path we all have to take :)

  8. Onder Hassan says:

    Thanks Vincent.
    I have a friend who has financial security and has everything but is bored because he doesn’t have anything else in his life to do. He spent all of his years striving for complete freedom. And now that he has it, he’s realised that it isn’t bringing him happiness. We have to keep moving and pushing ourselves!

  9. Jeff Urmston says:

    Alan Watts makes a great comparison about life as a journey to enjoying a piece of music: if it was all about getting to the end then songs would all be shortened to one big note. But this, of course, is far from the point. You’re supposed to enjoy, savor the melody. Similarly, life is about the dance. Whether good or bad, we shouldn’t be so eager to jump to the end. Great article Onder, thanks for sharing!

  10. Onder Hassan says:

    Thanks Jeff,
    Alan Watts is great and have listened to loads of his old seminars. He always spoke about detaching yourself from the things around us, which is easy to get consumed by as we have no choice but to get involved in the heat of it. His talks were always a great way to detach myself from things.

  11. Natalie says:

    Good article and true. But I don’t think that the successful people ‘honestly didn’t care about the end result’, but that they weren’t fixated on a particular detailed version of what they were trying to achieve. They remained flexible and open to other paths and results while working with joy toward a general goal, be that creating beauty or solving a problem.

  12. Harriet Sanders says:

    totally amazing Mr. Onder, your written article was fully informative and I get it on my mind..I thank you…

  13. Harriet Sanders says:

    Natalie, you’re absolutely right on this Point “honestly didn’t care about the end result”..

  14. maria says:

    Thank you for that insight, it is very helpful. Thank you. XX

  15. kiyone says:

    Thank you. I needed to read this. I knew my perspective needed work but I didn’t know the steps to take.

  16. Joshua Cartwright says:

    I really enjoyed this article: I had been feeling frustrated recently at not having something i wanted yet and your article reminded me that I had stopped enjoying the journey. So that’s my next task.

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