WOW Word-Of-the-Week #344: Adversity

March 8, 2011 by  

Adversity – a condition marked by misfortune, calamity or distress.

When was the last time you experienced misfortune or distress in your life?  Were you able to deal with it and move on quickly? Do you believe that adversity can actually be a good thing for you?

An NYT News Service Article written by Benedict Carey titled, “MOOD IMPROVES WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH: Study suggests facing some adversity may boost a person’s resilience” states, “It is clear that with time, most people can and do psychologically recover from even devastating losses; but reactions to the same blow vary widely, and no one can reliably predict who will move on quickly and who will lapse into longer-term despair.”

“Mental toughness is something like the physical strength: It cannot develop without exercise, and it breaks down when overworked. The study showed that too many stressful events close together are not good, while having only a few allows you to learn something.”

“The lifetime resilience study suggests that the pain, the self-doubt, the disorientation and the anger that swarm the consciousness in the wake of a job loss, a foreclosure, or a divorce can have some upside, even though it’s not remotely visible at the time.”

“Perhaps the one most fundamental thing you learn in living through an experience like this is that you can come out the other end of almost anything. You say, ‘Well, it may have crushed me, but I survived.’”

This week focus on adversity. One of my most favorite lines is, “This to shall pass.” Has adversity made you more resilient? Have you survived a job loss, foreclosure, or a divorce? Have negative events in your life taught you how to cope better?

Reader Responses

“It is the rare person who has not dealt with adversity in one form or another in this life. For those who have not endured some kind of adversity, that just means they really have not lived. I think Dolly Parton put it best when she said, “You can’t have the rainbow unless you’ve had the rain.” A major part of growing and learning in life involves taking chances. Many times in life people who have been burned once or twice vow to never try again. Thus, not allowing themselves to love or grow or expand their career opportunities. Those who do take the chance of failure and adversity are the ones who eventually succeed. But, getting over adversity is a lot easier said than done. We just don’t move on easily after disappointments in life: job loss, divorce, loss of loved ones. There is a period of time people need to get over those life-changing moments. And it is different for everyone. In those moments it is very difficult to see the forest for the trees because we are in the moment of adversity, suffering in our own way. We tend to forget that we are not the only person who has gone through these things. Everyone does. It is just that the experience is different for everyone because of our personas. I’m reminded of a line in Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” The duo sings, “After changes upon changes we are more or less the same. After changes we are more or less the same.” So, none of us is immune to the slings and arrows of adversity. It is how we react or not, and whether we believe there is a reason for the problem or difficulty and what we will look like when we come out on the other side. It can be painful, but we need it  to grow and to live. Buzz Williams, who is the basketball coach of my alma mater, Marquette University, likes to tell his team that when the going gets tough the team’s character is revealed. How true.  Great word, Susan. Keep up the great work” – “Warrior” Joe