Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
We all have days when we experience some discomfort, fatigue, even darkness. At such moments, it may help to remember that history has shown that the most successful lives were filled with many moments of darkness. Every dark moment presents us with two choices: to stop the journey or to keep going. The only thing that happens if we stop is regret. To keep going is much harder, but always the right choice.
The single trait of all successful people is their resilience through dark periods; they never stop. They endure. They understand that life is incredibly challenging. They understand that none of us gets out of here alive and that, in the end, what really matters is the difference we made and the legacy we left – something that will inspire others long after we’ve gone. Like them, you will come to see that the road to something great is mostly paved by pain, discomfort and despair. You will learn that despair makes one strong and that its accompanying darkness often brings character, polish and direction, helping us to become the best version of ourselves. So, however bleak things may appear at this moment,
Don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap. Professor Randy Pausch
Some of the greatest works in history were created during incredibly challenging periods in the lives of their creators.
- Consider Martin Luther King Jr’s famous gospel of freedom ‘Letter from Birmingham City Jail’, written in a cramped cell in Birmingham, Alabama on 13 April, 1963, after being arrested in downtown Birmingham on a Good Friday. This letter showed Martin’s fundamental belief that all those who are oppressed will eventually demand their birthright of freedom. It became a leading document of the civil rights movement, remaining one of the best human rights arguments in history. His invigorating letter demonstrates how he responded to his immediate circumstances that Easter weekend – resolutely and with no sign at all of giving up on his vision for the future of blacks in America. His words in this letter continue to inspire many human rights activists and still resonate in many hearts 52 years later.
- Ludwig van Beethoven’s most beautiful and extraordinary body of music, which stands at the outer limits of human accomplishment, was composed in the last ten years of his life, when he had lost his hearing. According to Harvey Sachs, author of The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824, Beethoven wanted his music during this period, “Not only to be enjoyed, but to help humanity to emerge from the darkness into the light”. His final symphony – Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, also known as the Choral, which he completed in 1824, is his most towering achievement and is considered by some as one of the greatest and most influential classical music pieces ever written.
- John Milton wrote his epic poem, Paradise Lost, in 1667 while blind and at a time before braille, recorded books or any of the modern technologies that assist visually impaired people today. Though blindness was like an intellectual death sentence in his time, he endured its limitations and his numerous personal difficulties and was determined not to allow it to stop his artistic dreams, particularly his poetry and prose, which reflect his passion for freedom and self determination.
And there are many more examples of outstanding achievements during periods of adversity. The greatest miracle of all, human birth itself, even with outstanding modern medical developments for managing pain, still involves a degree of pain. If humanity avoided pain, none of us would be here today. Human birth is one pain that we are grateful and thankful for.
So no matter what challenges or storms we may face. And storms and challenges are inevitable. No matter how life-altering or catastrophic these storms and challenges are, we must keep working and hoping for the greater future we desire, because HOPE HAS POWER. Besides, trials, tribulations and obstacles stretch, mould and make us better than we think we are. I leave you with the words of the great Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”.
Have a lovely week,