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.
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 passionate about building Self-Confidence and has started a Self-Confidence blog to help others do the same. He is also a published 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 take you to the next level. He can be found on Google+