By: Suchitra Mishra On: December 25, 2011 In: Life, Managing Yourself, Motivation Comments: 18

Sitting with my mom in the hospital as she got ready for yet another procedure made me wonder how she could stay so positive and cheerful even while facing such seemingly insurmountable odds. What happiness sources could she possibly be tapping on while even  her own body was not cooperating with her? I asked her whether she was just putting on a brave face to make it easier for her family or was there really something good that she saw in this whole grueling experience?

Surprisingly, for me, she really believed that adversity does have its blessings too – here are five reasons why:

Blessings in Adversity #1: Sink or Swim

Adversity prepares you to swim, to fight the battles that life keeps throwing at us. Each small victory or failure is one more way to find aspects of yourself that you never knew you had it in you. One more survival skill learnt to prepare you for the future. One more step in the path to self-discovery. Resilience, adaptability, strength, patience are all tested in times of adversity and you emerge stronger and more confident about yourself.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
~Dr. Seuss

Blessings in Adversity #2: Finding the good in people

Everyone is always willing to celebrate in your success, but how many are there for you when you really need them? It throws a strong scanner on your relationships. You learn not to invest your precious energies and time on those that never really cared and appreciate those that do. Adversity brings people closer to you and strengthens your relationships with them who really care for you. Becoming humbler and learning to let go may be lessons that are learnt only through adversity but are also ones that bring much happiness too.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah

Blessings in Adversity #3: Value of Time

Each moment is precious and could be your last. Living in each moment and enjoying the moment while it lasts is a point that difficulties drive home. You realize the pointlessness of wasting away the moments that have been given to us, it could be the last good moment that you have in a long time – savor it, create something of value, be grateful for the moment.

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Lord Chesterfield

Blessings in Adversity #4: Seeing the Big Picture

It sometimes takes a good jolt to shake you out of your rut and make you see the big picture. Adversity brings perspective with it. The daily stresses, the petty worries and the small fears are put in proper perspective when faced with tough times. We are all born, we all die. It is what we do in the between that matters most. You start to realize your place in the world and the purpose of your life, the grand plan for you becomes clearer.

“It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves.  The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Carl Jung

Blessings in Adversity #5: Deepening Connections with the Higher Power

Faith is a powerful source of energy. Faith empowers the belief that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and that this too shall pass. It is in tough times that we fall back on this source the most. We discover what our view of God really is. Putting yourself in the hands of whichever Higher Power that you believe in is a definite fast track to inner/spiritual growth.

“Self-realization means that we have been consciously
connected with our source of being. Once we have made
this connection, then nothing can go wrong…” Swami Paramananda

In life or in business, it is certain that we will never be completely free of challenges or hardships. It is in these times that you have an opportunity to test your mettle and see what you are made of. My mom made me realize that there is no good or bad situation, it is how you respond to the situation that makes it good or bad. And if you learn to recognize and revel in these hidden blessings in adversity, you can only be richer from the experience.

What have you learnt from the challenges that life has thrown out to you? Has it brought out the best in you? Do you look back and think that the experience was actually good for you? I would love to know.


    • Eloy
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    • Suchitra Mishra
    • June 07, 2012

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Aries – to be a better human is the highest purpose of life.
    Thanks for dropping by.

    • Aries
    • June 07, 2012

    Thanks suchitra , this was enlightening .Adversity takes away everything that you thought were important and highlights the things that you take for granted . It exposes who you are internally to make amends in the basic fabric of your soul . It is the only way to become a better human.

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    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 31, 2011

    Dear Elli – you are an inspiration to me and many others. Thank you so much for being you – the embodiment of grace under fire.
    Thank you for your prayers, support and love – wish you enough on this new year ahead.

    Much regards,

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 29, 2011

    Dear Judy,

    Despite everything, I will still look back on 2011 as a landmark year as so many new worlds have opened up for me (and many solely due to you) – so a big thank you first for your support, prayers and wishes.

    My mom is very active (hyper-active actually – running three different businesses) and the biggest concern that she has is that her illness has restricted her options. Her constant question – what use is going through everything if I cannot do something valuable with the new life I am getting.

    So her assignment to me – “find me something new that I can do considering my physical limitations that adds value to my life and the life of others.”

    Well I am thinking and thinking hard and in the meantime – have asked her to be my collaborator on this blog.

    The point of sharing this with you ? You said keep the faith – yes we are and it is so much easier to do that when we are around her. Your quoted poem is a tribute to her life and I will read it out to her for sure.

    Thank You.

    • Judy Gombita
    • December 29, 2011

    My wonderful Suchitra,

    I’m sorry things are not proceeding as quickly (and successfully) as originally hoped regarding your mother’s kidney transplant. Here’s my fervent prayers and wish that time will rectify that and you can all resume your “normal” lives, again.

    The silver lining in this trying time is how much you are talking and sharing things with your mother, maybe articulating things you’ve never voiced before. Having been through the situation before (a parent hospitalized), I always tell my friends in a similar situation: tell your mother/father how you feel. Tell her/him about your love and what she or he has meant in your life. I tell you, most solemnly, you will never regret doing this. In fact, it will give you comfort, later (this being in the case where they are dying).

    When someone close to us is not well, it really does bring home what’s really important, doesn’t it? That’s why we should live each day like it might be our last one on earth, at least regarding our relationships to those closest in our hearts.

    I’m wondering if you are familiar with this one?

    “You’ve gotta’ dance like there’s nobody watching,
    Love like you’ll never be hurt.
    Sing like there’s nobody listening,
    And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
    (And speak from the heart to be heard.)”

    William W. Purkey

    Keep the faith. Keep talking. And keep creating such beautiful posts out of these life experiences. I really appreciate you sharing something with us that is so incredibly personal.

    My very best to your mother and you,

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 28, 2011

    Hello Farida,

    You made my day with your compliment and comment on the post – Thank you.

    I do agree with you, there is no way I can say everything happens for the best to my mom for example… we have discussed and debated this quite a lot. We have reached to the point that OK, it is what it is, so now what ? This “now what” question has actually helped us a lot – taken our minds of the problem and shifted it to the solutions – one step and one day at a time (which includes experiencing all the blessings that I noted in my post).

    Thank you again for dropping by,

    • Farida H
    • December 28, 2011

    Hi Suchitra, this is such a well-written and though-provoking post. I agree with you that adversity can have hidden blessings. That said, I think it’s easy to tell someone who is in an adverse situation ‘that everything will be okay.’ or to say ‘Everything happens for the best,’ but I’ve come to believe that’s not always the best thing to say. While I get the whole positivity aspect of it and that you want to provide comfort to someone else by saying something reassuring, I think it is cultural Kool-aid that we’ve been drinking and expect others to do as well. The truth is that sometimes everything isn’t okay or doesn’t always work out for the best. My advice to others, instead, who are facing an adverse situation, would be that life does not always work out as planned and the real test is to rise up to that challenge and work your way around that and still make the best of the cards you have been dealt.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 27, 2011

    Hello Rahul,

    Looks like someone is having one of those days….. 🙂
    I agree with you in it being difficult to find the good in ALL people… adversity helps in distinguishing genuineness from lip service. What would have taken years otherwise to recognize becomes clearer in days – you see the good in people more easily and learn to give of yourself in those relationships that truly matter.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 27, 2011

    Hello Raj,

    Thank you for your wishes and prayers. Adversity is inevitable, it only varies in the degree. Glad you liked my post. This experience has certainly made me introspect and make some changes in my life. Unfortunately, we learn only through experience..
    I have to read the Vedanta – any suggestions on a good translation ?

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 27, 2011

    Hello Aman,

    Thanks for dropping by. I do agree with you on unconditional surrender – it is a very difficult thing to do however and goes against the conditioning of being in control. One’s faith and spiritual/religious beliefs does make this easier in some ways. The “Why me” question does not need an answer then. You can move on to focus on playing the cards that have been dealt to you with all the skill and determination that you possess.


    • coachrahul
    • December 27, 2011

    I find it a challenge to find the good in all people. Many people are such… ok, no expletives, for a start.

    • Raj Shankar
    • December 26, 2011

    Adversity is said to deliver teachings. But i truly wish that no one has to bear adversity. I wish and pray that your mom recovers to her normal health at the earliest. I loved the lessons captured in the above post. I hope we will be able to practice it in daily life and not wait for adversity to force this lesson upon us. The whole of Vedanta actually attempts teaching us these fundamental truths. Surrendering to the higher truth is a great life changing experience.

    • Aman Deep
    • December 26, 2011

    An additional view could be ‘Bowing to HIS will’. The situations are seen ‘difficult’ or ‘easy to handle’ based on our perception. If we accept the fact that this is all as per HIS will and not the worst situation (by looking further down), it becomes much easier to cross the dark tunnel. An injury can be looked as fatal or minor based on our perceived benchmarks. So the unconditional surrender in front of HIS will, helps us to raise the benchmark and accept any situation as best for us.

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