Athena Captain's Blog

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Learning from challenges is the best way to suffer less and grow more

Life is full of challenges: personal issues, professional hurdles to overcome, health upsets… If 2020 has shown us anything is how strong we are and how much we can survive. Every challenge and upset is a chance to learn and grow, and it is up to us to embrace it and extract the goodness and the learning from an unavoidable tough spot.

Whenever you are going through a hard time, have you ever asked yourself “Why am I going through this?”

I know I have, and so have all of us. Why me? Why this? Why now? We fight and rant against our difficulties, and we miss out on the opportunity to learn from the challenge and grow as people and as professionals.

Let me share with you one of the greatest lessons I have learned to answer this question.

Whenever I find myself going through a hard time and thinking “Why me? Why this?” I stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and change the “WHY” into “WHAT”.

Instead of asking “Why must I go through this?” I ask myself “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

The challenge will not go away. I will have to face it, brave it, find my way out of it and suffer through it anyway. There are no shortcuts.

growing from challenges

However, I can change my approach, and start to consider this difficult moment as an opportunity to learn, to grow, even a way to help others. All I have to do is stop for a moment and change the questions I ask myself. You might want to try it too.

When you’re feeling challenged, stressed, afraid or in pain, stop and ask yourself:

  • How will this help me develop into a better me?
  • How can walking through this allow me, with God’s help, to help others?

Imagine how much we could grow, and how much happier and stronger and wiser we could be, if whenever we felt pain, rejection, fear or other countless negative emotions we changed our point of view and THEN embraced the lessons learned.

This can apply to business and to our personal lives. You can use this approach to change how you react to anything: from a parking ticket to an economic recession, from a family argument to a major health issue. Look for the lesson and the opportunity to grow, and you will come out on the other side a bigger, better person. 

You may even suffer less through the process, since you are no longer focused on the negative aspects, but on the potential teachings this unpleasant or unhappy experience has in store for you. Nobody likes losing a client, or a loved one, or their health or money. But imagine if instead of focusing on the loss, the pain and the sadness, we started looking for the lesson, the silver lining, the opportunity to help others who are going through something similar. Imagine how much easier and less painful it could be, if we looked for the hidden blessing in our struggles!

I am not saying it is easy -it’s just a thought for us today. Add it to your tool kit for dealing with difficult situations in life and work, meditate on it and let it illuminate old situations with a new light.

You may have come here looking for business advice or sales tips, and you may be confused to hear me give you such personal advice. But trust me, taking control of your mindset, your emotions and your reactions will only benefit you and all aspects of your life - the personal, the professional, financial, and more. Growing as a person will naturally make you a better salesperson, a better entrepreneur, a better friend and partner. The challenges we face, and how we overcome them, become a part of our history and part of who we are.

learning from challenges

I hope this small piece of advice, that took me so long to learn, will help you get through every challenging situation you face in a more graceful and considered way, and not just survive it, but actually learn and grow because of it.

I pray each of you have a blessed and productive day!

2 minute read