Some days make you want to scream. Many times we think that our lives would be perfect if bad days never happened. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are several quotes that come to mind to conceptualize your adversity quotient (AQ). “Life is not about trying to avoid the storms, but learning how to dance in the rain.” “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Adversity is a necessity to growing and your adversity quotient determines how well you are going to overcome it.
Believing You Can
We all surprise ourselves at some point but it certainly isn’t the norm. For the most part what we visualize for our lives is what happens. Thus, it suffices to say that if you want to be able to overcome adversity, you have to start believing that you will. Perhaps the biggest part of your AQ should focus on effort. Will Smith said this,
“I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. You may be more talented than me. You might be smarter than me. And you may be better looking than me. But if we get on a treadmill together you are going to get off first or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple. I’m not going to be outworked.”
Successful running on the treadmill of life doesn’t mean that you always have water available to drink, or a fan blowing on you, or even control of the speed. What you get to determine is when you get off and quit when it’s running. Belief in yourself is a choice.
We all come into this world helpless. We can’t get food. We don’t know how to find shelter. As a baby, we are the most helpless we will ever be. However, the first day you come out of your comfortable little bubble, is the first day you learn how to help yourself. Small steps are taken and your brain is constantly learning. Then we get older and instead of growing and learning that we can change our surroundings, we continue to learn that where we are is where we’ll stay.
Once we start realizing that we have a choice, it begins to open up all kinds of possibilities. If you can learn helplessness, then you can unlearn it, but it takes time. You can’t expect your entire thinking to change in one day if you’ve been learning helplessness for years. Once you start unlearning this you must be aware that there will be people around you that will want to keep you where they are and where you’ve been.
Old Friends in Helplessness
Imagine if you saw a dog running around aimlessly in a yard; darting through bushes, curving around trees, and its tongue out of its mouth. You would think the dog mad and crazy. What if you didn’t see the rabbit it was chasing? When we have dreams we want to achieve, the “un”dreamers will never understand us. They see us running about aimlessly, while we see ourselves chasing with fury. The “un”dreamers will certainly chime in with disheartening news about how we’ll never get to where we want to go. They will tell us that they want to help us not chase dreams because that would be too hard and then proceed to change the channel on the TV. Why do they criticize? Because they don’t have a dream themselves. If they did, they would understand the importance of encouraging.
Where Does God Fit In?
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Overcoming adversity in all areas of our lives is a choice. Joshua gave the Israelites an amazing choice. He asked the people to consider who they wanted to serve. They had been wandering in the desert for so long that they were tired and had already seen so many different types of adversity, that many of them were ready to quit. Thus Joshua asked them to make a decision and stick with it. Either go back to the old life you had or keep pushing forward with a God who gave them manna, water from the rock, and deliverance from the Egyptians through the Red Sea. You and I have a choice. We believe in a better life here and a better life afterwards. Our lives here should be spent in praise and devotion to God because He is absolutely worthy. Nothing happens to us without His permission and you can be rest assured that He allows adversity because He wants us to grow.
What do I do now?
- Discover your purpose
- Build a dream in line with that
- Find a community of people to encourage you
- Commit to it and encourage others