Last week I had the privilege of sharing this with a group of medical professionals who deal with workman's compensations claims on a daily basis. This helped me tune in more keenly to the difficulties others are experiencing. After reading over many social media posts since then about difficulties others are experiencing, I am convinced that this key to unlocking difficulties is sorely needed in this hour.
It appears that our typical reaction to difficulties, and difficult people, is to simply condemn the "bad luck" or bad people, and cope as best we can, often harboring resentment and responding in ways and with attitudes that further hinder our progress and become problems in themselves.
Today I would like to share a simple to understand, although challenging process, which is capable of yielding great rewards when applied. One beautiful aspect of this process is that it is not determined by external circumstances. Any person, in any situation, can begin to apply this process today, and be better off for it tomorrow and all the days that follow.
Here is the 4-step process of turning difficulties into success:
1- Difficulty is experienced.
This can be any difficulty of any size, large or small. Rarely does life seem like we are being attacked by a dragon, usually it is more like we are being pecked to death by a flock of ducks! No matter, be our difficulty large or small, a dragon or a duck, the process still works anytime something happens that we consider a challenge and not something we wished for.
2- Difficulties reveal us to ourselves
James Allen wrote "Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to him." No one is the victim of their circumstance. Granted, there are terrible circumstances in this world, but there are also great men and women who have arisen from terrible circumstance. The circumstance does not guarantee the outcome, our response to it does! When we encounter less than desirable circumstances, our reactions in word, actions, thoughts, attitudes, and motives, reveal us to ourselves on a deeper level than we previously knew. In this way, difficulties are actually our mentors, as they better introduce us to ourselves.
3- Seeing ourselves more clearly reveals areas in which to grow
Although our initial response to adversity may not reveal those qualities we admire and wish for, yet when viewed honestly, they reveal the areas in which we can grow to reach our greatest potential. Only by seeing weaknesses in our choices of how we respond, do we see the areas in which our greatest potential lies. Once recognized, we can begin our personal development process by bringing resources into our lives that will help develop those areas in which we find ourselves wanting. We may reach out to a friend, who is further along the road of development in the areas we wish to develop. We may seek books, podcasts, or other materials that help us grow in the necessary areas. As we begin to think better thoughts and apply them in practice over time, growth is inevitable. There is nothing worse than being "stuck" in any situation. Yet, thankfully, the power to get "unstuck" rests with all of us, as we pursue our own growth.
4- Development today is the only guarantee of a better tomorrow
As we experience difficulty, see ourselves more clearly through our responses, seek resources to aid our growth, and make growth a daily habit, we will experience greater and greater results, both inwardly and outwardly. Others may begin to notice how we respond differently, giving us greater levels of influence. We will experience greater peace and confidence on the inside as we begin to be more like the person we want to be. As our responses to difficulty develop, we also are better able to help others find solutions to the difficulties they encounter, which increases our wisdom and leadership and affords greater success in our endeavors.
When it comes to our personal development, which in turn determines the outcome of our lives, there are few friends as true in helping our growth as the difficulties we experience, when we let them show us our true selves and we choose to develop as a result!