"Irwin, a successful frog is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. Turning adversity into an advantage is our lesson for today. We all face adversity sometime in our lives, Tadpole, and it's the wise frog who learns how to use that adversity to his advantage. It's very easy to feel persecuted when others try to hurt us. It can take wisdom and real courage to keep going. Humans have a saying that goes 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' Those words, Irwin, are very true. But often it isn't only words that get thrown into our path. Many of us have suffered abuse, neglect, or illnesses that have caused emotional obstacles for us. What we don't realize, Little One, is that what really we need to do is to see things with a fresh eyes. Having a new perspective on our situation can help us turn those adversities into advantages. Those obstacles, or hurtful treatment from others, make us better and stronger. They are a necessary part of becoming the frog we are meant to be...full of flaws and full of victories."
Dharma, of course, is right. Seeing our lives, both the good and the bad, with a new perspective can be a very important first step when trying to move forward past the obstacles on our path to living a successful life. My wise teacher also gave me these 4 mind shifts to help turn adversity into advantage.
1. Adversity is only temporary. It can be helpful to remember that our difficulties have an expiration date. We can't always predict when it will be over, but we need to remember that, at some point, it will end. When we learn to welcome our pain and difficulties, they have a way of becoming smaller and more easily manageable. We get clear on what actions we need to take to move ahead.
2. Adversity is an anchor. Going through difficulties, whatever they may be, is humbling. Trouble has a way of showing us what's really important. They allows us to chart a new course for our lives. If we don't find a way to reframe our past difficulties into something more positive, those difficulties and bad memories become an anchor that only weighs us down. They can hold us back forever. Dharma suggests thinking of your adversity as a breeding ground for all your growth moving forward.
3. Adversity is your greatest teacher. If you allow it, adversity can become your best teacher. It can help you become the best version of yourself. Dharma believes that this can be as simple as changing the word "to" into "for." Life isn't happening TO me, but life is happening FOR me. Changing that one little word can help transform your adversity from being your enemy to becoming your ally. Then tell yourself, "Adversity is happening for me so I can become the best inspiration I can for others and transform my current mess into my mission." And, lastly,
4. Adversity reveals the good. Napoleon Hill, author of the book Think and Grow Rich, said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it a seed of equivalent benefit.” This means that the more you are willing to seek a solution, to find the benefit in your obstacle (or hurling brick as it were), the more you will find what's good in it. The easiest way to find the good is by practicing gratitude. Like attracts like. It's a simple Law of Nature. Whatever you are grateful for will bring you more of the same. And if you aren't grateful for what you already have, then you attract more of that same nothing.
As Dharma and I finished up the last few sips of our tea, he told me that once we are ready to turn adversity on its head, and remember that it is only a temporary situation, advantage will be waiting for us, just around the corner.