Football coaching great Lou Holtz has many famous quotes. One of my favorites is “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I will show you someone who has overcome adversity.” If 2020 taught us anything, it is that life can sometimes be challenging and that we will all face adversity in our lives. The trick is to view the adversity that comes our way as an opportunity.
What with Covid-19, political upheaval, an uncertain economy, and Oklahoma and our surrounding states apparently becoming the Arctic Circle in February of 2021, seeing adversity as an opportunity may seem a nearly impossible task. However, as inspirational writer William Arthur Ward stated, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” Here are a few thoughts that might help you see the opportunity in today’s hardships:
- This too shall pass – This little saying originated in ancient Persian poetry and has been used throughout history, including in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before becoming our 16th President. I heard it regularly from one of my primary philosophical mentors – my sweet mother, Mrs. Joe Ann Root. It is a reminder that obstacles are temporary while overcoming them can provide benefits for the rest of our lives.
- I Won’t Back Down – Sometimes, life will kick you in the teeth and knock you to the ground. The question is – do you plan to get up? If you do, the next time that particular kick comes, you will know how to dodge it. Adversity is a great teacher, and facing it head on will teach you a lot about yourself. When you do, you might find yourself singing this Tom Petty song – “I won’t back down, won’t be turned around, and I’ll keep this world from dragging me down, and I won’t back down.”
- Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive – This popular song published in 1944 with lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer, reminds us that we all have many reasons to be grateful. My wife Polly has recently been asking me to name one or two things I am thankful for each night before we go to sleep. I might mention the health of our children, the extraordinary team of bankers that make up the First Liberty family, or the delicious cabbage soup she made for supper. Polly might mention that she is grateful for the house she recently got under contract in her job as a realtor or for the closeness and love that she has for her siblings. We have a lot to choose from and it is beneficial to think of those things as we deal with life’s daily hardships. I am truly grateful that Polly has added this routine to our day.
We will get past Covid-19, the economy will stabilize and improve, and Spring is just around the corner. Recognize that the current adversity is temporary, use the adversity as a teacher, refuse to back down, and focus on the many positives in your life. When Covid-19 is a thing of the past, the economy is booming, and the blossoms of Spring arrive, adversity will still come our way. After all, Life is Hard. What an Opportunity!
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