It’s a lot of fun to reflect on, and show gratitude for, all the amazing victories we have had over time, but any hardship we face also serves an important purpose.
Take a step back and reflect on the hardships that you have been through and the struggles you are currently dealing with.
Winning is an incredible thing, but success does not teach you as much as failure does. You don’t learn as many lessons from accomplishments as you do from the hardships.
Reflecting on the heartbreaks, downswings, failures, struggles, and hardships that you went through will help you grow.
That hardship will be the key to taking your life to the next level. These setbacks, and everything you’ve gained from them, will be your stepping-stones to your greatness.
These four reasons for looking at challenges with a new perspective can help you set a new course.
As you read this post, jot down some ideas after you read each section. Then you can work on putting these ideas into action.
Your Hardship Will Show You What Doesn’t Work!
We’veall had moments, situations, tragedies, disasters, and living nightmares wherethings just went completely wrong.
Bad days, weeks, or months. Hell, maybe even bad years!
We’ve all had them before. However, here’s the silver lining that will help you climb to the next level. Falling flat on your face, stumbling into a disaster, and watching everything go wrong in your life is the only way to realize what doesn’t work!
High achievers and legends like Denzel Washington and Phil Knight (the founder of Nike) often use the phrase “Fail Forward.” Failing Forward means using your mistakes as stepping stones to propel yourself in the right direction.
The only way to Fail Forward—the best way to learn what doesn’t work—is by going through hardship.
Struggling with your job or getting fired teaches you what career options are not compatible with you. Getting dumped teaches you what kinds of boyfriends or girlfriends to stay away from.
Losing money teaches you what kinds of investment mistakes to avoid. Taking the dead-end route shows you how to get back on to the right path.
Hardship is a huge blessing because it teaches you what paths NOT to take!
How to take the better path instead
If you couldn’t get to the gym consistently this year, learn from your mistakes. Try going to sleep with your workout clothes on, or take your gym bag to work with you to help eliminate your resistance.
If you struggled with waking up early enough to work on your passion this year, try doing your passion work in the evenings instead.
If you didn’t manage to read any personal development books, try reading just 5 pages per day starting now. Break the work up into small chunks. Just 5 pages per day can add up to roughly one full book per month!
If you suffered from an injury that hurt your ability to play sports or do physical activity, try using the skills you learned from sports to succeed in other areas, like business.
If you attempted to quit drinking or smoking before and didn’t achieve sobriety, reflect on everything that you could have done differently. Make a list of every mistake you made the first time and use that information as motivation to pick sobriety back up and try it again.
In the end, you will realize that there are no true failures in life. Only lessons.
If something did not work out the first time around, Fail Forward. Use what you learned to come back stronger now.
Your Hardship Will Show What Your Flaws Are
Every single one of us has flaws. No human is perfect.
Everybody makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. We all have negative tendencies, addictions, selfish behaviors, egotistical mentalities, areas that need improvement, and aspects of life where we struggle.
That’s why hardship is so crucial, important, and valuable. Without that suffering, we could never figure out what our flaws are.
Many people go through their lives oblivious and unaware of what their weaknesses are. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. Maybe they are subconsciously trying to avoid confronting their flaws.
For whatever reason, lots of people cannot come to terms with, understand, confront, and overcome their weaknesses.
With no self-awareness of what your flaws are, you can never improve your life, overcome your obstacles, and grow as a person. So you have to fail, struggle, and deal with pain. That pain illuminates the weak areas that you need to confront.
It is only through hardship, failure, embarrassment, tragedy, and heartaches that you can pinpoint the areas where you need to improve.
Even though it’s hard, identifying weakness is a crucial stepping-stone to moving your life in an upward direction.
What to do with this awareness of your flaws
Admitting that you aren’t good at something, that you have selfish tendencies, or that you have limitations in some areas can be painful. However, in order for you to climb to a higher level, you are going to need to identify your flaws.
Createa strong sense of self-awareness. Try to take an objective look at yourself. Pinpointyour weaknesses.
Because believe it or not, understanding and embracing your flaws will lead you to more growth, success, relationships, prosperity, and well-being. There are a couple of different ways that embracing your flaws can strengthen you.
Once you know what your weak points are, you can try to avoid projects in the areas in your where you struggle. You can hire people who are talented in all the categories where you stumble and who are strong where you are weak. And in your personal life, you can strive to create relationships with people who make up for all the qualities you lack.
Andif you have negative tendencies that are hurting your relationships with thepeople who are closest to you—such as pushing people away, not communicatingenough, blaming others for your mistakes, failing to appreciate them enough,failing to commit, or spending too much time on the phone when you’re withothers—simply knowing about theseflaws is the first and most important step to overcoming them. Use yourawareness of these mistakes to minimize them as much as possible.
The best option for dealing with your flaws might actually be to work on them until they become your greatest strengths. This is not an easy way to handle it. But make no mistake, the human mind is capable of almost anything.
Aside from things that are physically impossible or highly doubtful, like learning to sing like Mariah Carey or learning to play basketball like LeBron James, you can learn, improve, get better, make progress, and turn your weaknesses into strengths.
What Turning Flaws Into Success Looks Like
A lot of the most accomplished people actually started off terribly in the areas where they wound up succeeding on a massive level.
There are many world-famous motivational speakers like David Goggins, Les Brown, or Lisa Nichols who are introverts or who started out with severe setbacks, struggles, and learning disabilities that made public speaking seem like impossible an impossible task.
Ed Mylett is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world. But when he first tried public speaking, he was so nervous that he blanked out, didn’t know what to say, and couldn’t follow through with the speech. In fact, Ed was so nervous during that speech that his vision became blurry and he couldn’t even read his notes.
But Ed never gave up. He kept at it. He turned the horrible nervousness into animpactful speaking career that inspires people around the world.
For Ed and those speakers listed above, it was never obvious that they were destined for success. Public speaking was initially a painful flaw, hardship, and struggle for them. But through practice, work, and determination, they turned their flaws into accomplishments.
Withdedication and practice, you can do the same.
Were there any hardships that you struggled with recently that exposed some flaws or weak points that you need to work on?
Write a list of all of your biggest flaws. And right next to each flaw, write what you are going to do to convert it into a strength.
Now is your opportunity to embrace those weaknesses and use them as fuel to take your life to the next level.
Your Hardship Will Bring Out Your Best Character Traits
The best human qualities—character traits like compassion, resiliency, determination, relentlessness, bravery, courage, tenacity, resourcefulness, and creativity—usually only reveal themselves through pain.
Thinkabout your best qualities right now. Are you a really caring and compassionateperson? Are you a phenomenal friend always looking out for others? Are yousuper-determined? Are you extremely creative?
Now think back to when that compassion, bravery, or creativity first showed itself.
For most, if not all, of you, I’m sure your best qualities as a human showed up when you went through some kind of hardship. This might have looked like a tough year academically in school or college. Being bullied in high school is another experience that many can empathize with.
Then there are the tumultuous breakups with your significant other or the agonizing loss of a loved one. Another troublesome time for people might be their own battles with illness. Sometimes these hardships come as rejection or times when you experience a career setback.
The greatest human qualities show up when we are going through the worst pain of our lives, during the moments when we need them the most. Times of comfort, ease, and laid-back-living don’t bring out our courage, bravery, determination, compassion, or creativity. Only the hard times can do that.
Even though it sucks, hardship is necessary because it brings out the best in us.
So, as we move forward into the new year, spend some time reflecting on all the positive qualities that your lowest moments have revealed this year. These are all character traits that are going to help you make this year one of your best years yet.
Hardship Will Thicken Your Skin
Have you ever had a sales job?
I have worked several jobs in sales over the years. And I can tell you firsthand, nothing thickens your skin better than selling. Selling makes you tougher, less sensitive, and more determined because it’s painful.
Being a salesperson is one of the hardest, most difficult, and most challenging jobs in the world. Believe me. It’s brutal. I used to go door-to-door selling people the idea of sponsoring underprivileged kids in developing countries.
99%of the people I spoke to told me no. That’s the case in any sales job. Most ofthe people you talk to are going to tell you no. You have to work your waythrough all of those rejections just to get a few victories.
Dealing with that rejection and pain—in sales and in life—thickens your skin. That hardship of receiving lots of “no’s” makes it more and more difficult for someone to hurt your feelings, get in your head, destroy your confidence, or break your happiness.
Rejections, failures, setbacks, losses, break-ups, pain, tragedies, and hardship thicken your skin. They reveal your resiliency and prove you are not fragile or easily broken. You are stronger than you ever thought you were. You might bend a lot, but nothing will break you.
So, one of the best silver linings of your hardship is the chance to develop a thicker skin. Now that you’ve been told no, got rejected, got sent home, and dealt with a loss, you are going to meet the moment with an unstoppable sense of determination that cannot be shaken.
The Next Level is Waiting For You
When you’re going through a downswing, it’s easy to beat yourself up for your mistakes, lose hope, lose optimism, and lose faith.
Going through pain can easily become a justification to give up on getting to the next level. If you feel stuck, you might even fall under the impression that there is no next level and the place where you are is all there is.
It happens to all of us. I’ve definitely been there before. No human is exemptfrom those down moments.
However, no matter who you are or where you come from, there is a ‘next level’. You can, and will improve, get better, get stronger, love harder, make more connections, and accomplish the things you once thought were impossible.
As unlikely as it seems right now, your hardships are the key to making that happen. Your hardships will show you what doesn’t work, reveal what your flaws are, bring out the best in you, and thicken your skin. If you look for the clues in your struggles, they will guide you to a better and more exciting life.
Hardship is a much better and more powerful teacher than success. There is more wisdom to be gained in a failure versus a win. If you can use the lessons, you’ve learned this year as stepping-stones for forward-moving progress, there’s no limit to what you’ll do in the future.