Adversity as a learning curve

The magic of life mesmerises. It reveals itself as an assailable network of roads, with vast stretches of twists and turns. Wonderful to behold in its glorious forms of manifestations. There are summits as well as valleys. In spite of the odds that spew forth their cadences along the way, life remains a pleasant ride after all.

Speed-breaks rear somewhere in the journey. These tend to slow down the pace of the ride. These also often jolt the guy on the driver’s seat. If he takes the impact with zest, he has another chance to glide through the smooth stretch on the highway. If he decides to grumble or let himself get ensnared by its distractions, he may never make it to his destination as a fulfilled human. The more odds he contends with, the better he refines his emotional station, and the better at mastering the ride. For life balances its act with frills and odds. Both are intrinsically weaved as twin elements in his growth process. He can least afford to ignore one or the other.

Life then comes across as a reel of colourful or jaded experiences. Each experience along the arduous journey has its overarching purpose in the life of the pilgrim. Though it is not always easy to perceive of it in this light. Tiffany Mason’s words are instructive here:

“I was sexually molested and exploited at the age of 18. It took me a while to view it as a learning experience. The way in which you view adversity will either allow you to be set free from the heartache, confusion, guilt, and fear or allow you to be negatively affected in every aspect of your life.”

In simple terms, the hurdle to cross is not the sad or pleasant experience but the point of view. Adversities certainly lurch one towards crossroads. A prerequisite for taking life’s winds and storms as learning curves rather than as odds is a great presence of mind. This ultimately sets free the self from negative self-control mechanisms. The absence of this takes the wind out of the raft’s sail.

For as long as life’s breath throbs still in the human heart, adversities will never cease in the pilgrim’s journey. These are also the very ingredients of his maturity and sense of accomplishments – how he’s able to vault over the speed-breaks, bottlenecks, emotional turmoil, and all facets of odds or joy – determines the measure of his success.

Turning adversity in the scale into a learning curve is essentially the form of art one must necessarily learn. Here are few ways this can be achieved:

Being brimful with positive energy clears the arising fogs of life

Being happy is a choice. Tasking situations almost always stare at us daily as would fogs in the sky, rendering the choice to be upbeat nigh impossible by their blinding realities over our senses. But it is still a choice that you have to make – to be happy. Because the warmth of every sunrise dispels fogs no matter how thick they are. This requires being brimful with positive energy at all times; always seeing the good in every situation. The thing to ponder is: “What if this situation was meant to teach me a lesson?”

Good question. The answer can be found in inspiring yourself to perceive of the sunny side of life despite inherent challenges. There is no better option than to be upbeat in spirit. In the midst of those who can truly give you a motive for action towards achieving your goals or dreams, even sad moments become colourful and inspiring. So always seek good company in at all times.  

I’ve had cause in life to throw in the towel literarily in life’s beguiling arena, yet it is at those moments that I’ve been most creative by turning the scales in my favour. The secret lies in a positive mental attitude; a never-say-die attitude to life. There are always positive vibes in the air. It’s up to you to attract these to yourself consciously. It is a choice. Because the moment your perception changes positively, the odds become tonics of some sort to success. It’s instructive too to avoid “toxic people” as much as you can. These are kill-joys. They add no value to your life. Find the right company and you become a bird with powerful wings that can chart new frontiers.

A clear mental map or frame of reference is essential to a smooth ride on life’s highways

  The Chinese would always say, “Start with the end in sight.” A vivid mental map or framework of where the journey would take you is vital for an almost hitch-free experience in life. Glitches are part of the path because of its unpredictable nature, but foreknowledge of these and the mental preparedness to absolve the jolts and frills it brings, gives one the needed edge in the drive-through.

Hardly would you miss a road you know too well like the back of your palms. So also is a clear mental picture of the tales of the ‘expected.’ You simply take them in your strides as things that come to prepare you for greater glories, or a more refined soul-experience.

  Suck up the heat, but don’t let it melt your resolve to be proactive or fruitful. Feel the pain, but remember the gain in it. Let life’s fog take its course, let it caress your fancies with its dreariness, but know it in your heart that there’ll always be a sunrise to dispel its darkness.

  Life itself is an expression of divine energies. Be part of that endless flow through self-expression. To be held down with negative self-talk or outside influence, is to dam that flow. Release yourself from negative energies or influences. Flow with the sweet rhythms of nature.

 The secret to driving safely and purposefully on life’s broad way is giving yourself necessary feedback in terms of where you are at the moment, where you wish to be and how to get there, with a clear mental map of the road ahead, and the enthusiasm that you will get there somehow, someday, even with howling winds or storms.

A better understanding of your current situation puts you in a better stead to be creative in overcoming odds. A significant tool in this regard is the potential to be a creative thinker instead of a disruptive thinker. Negative thoughts stifled you further in the box. Positive thoughts trigger divine energies that make you think outside the box. It is the only way to dispel the fogs of life.

Partake in nature’s healing balm

Ever wondered why the birds in the field serenade us time after time with their sweet chirps as if they never experience tantrums or the sad realities of life? Has the high flash of waterfalls, the sprawling beauty of green vegetation, the glow of the rising sun, the brilliance of the moon at night, the rush of the river currents, the music in your heart, and all the diverse rhythms of the sphere, ever held any meaning with you as you gaze at them? Do these strike your imagination as nature’s healing balms?

Nature is so pure and beautiful. Powerful in its subtleties. Healing in its flux of energies. When your mind is agitated, when you imagine the world has crumbled on your shoulders, you could learn a lesson or two from nature’s tranquility. Every little speck of it is always in sync with other aspects. There’s hardly a collision course. Its harmony is perfect. Seeing the beauty in nature, its unity in diversity, being part of its endless flow, filling your lungs with a stream of air in a garden, or simply watching a waterfall, a sunrise or sunset, can be a healing balm; because you are now trying to sync your energies with the divine flow of things. As your thoughts flow out to the universe in your admiration of nature, it in turn purifies your energies by soaking up the negative clutches of the mind. People who attune their senses with nature seem to live healthier lives by virtue of the healing it proffers.

When there is disconnect between you and the world, reach out in your quiet moment to nature for its natural healing. Let your mind wander through nature’s wondrous maze like a child’s, become borne once more on its gentle wings, and soar with it back to your pristine beginnings. You’d notice by the time that you’re through, that some level of healing has taken place. But try not to let yourself relapse into an ocean of self-pity or endless brooding again; acknowledge the fact that every experience is a learning curve.

Never stop reinventing yourself

If every experience is a learning curve, the ultimate experience would be that of constantly turning the lessons learned into a better you. This presupposes reinventing yourself always, being in control of your thought-impulses, and being on the driver’s seat of your life. It could also mean self-development. In the domain of personal power, you are the only arbiter. What you do with yourself will determine what you eventually become.

Topmost on the agenda of most successful people around the world is personal development, or, self-reinvention. Overcoming adversary often begins with self-discovery; knowing your strengths and weaknesses. The former inspires you to action; the latter makes you a better person if you identify and work at strengthening them.

Edentu D. Oroso is a biographer, poet, essayist, magazine columnist, novelist and public speaker. He’s the author of Tears from a Rose, The Alpha Sky, Wings of Freedom, and edited Songs of the Gilded Pen under the pen name Dean Max.

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