The Struggling Advantage

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Struggles are often viewed as a disadvantage. And that may be true in some regards, I think there is a much bigger picture to be considered. Struggles create learning experience that can’t be had by taking the easy path.

I know first hand what it feels like to struggle. As nice as it would have been to start life at a different starting line, I wouldn’t trade the things I’ve learned. I am happy with how things turned out thus far and the life I’ve created. In addition I have a level of gratitude that I don’t think I could have achieved if it wasn’t for the struggles. I drive my daughter crazy talking about gratitude!!

When we have no choice but to struggle we challenge ourselves. It’s kind of like the difference in intensity when we workout home alone or in a gym with a trainer. A lot of people say being with a trainer makes them push harder. It’s often human nature to want to take the easy route. However, just like in the gym, if we are forced to do hard things we get stronger. We become more resilient to life’s challenges. We learn how to empathize. We learn self reliance and self worth. We learn a lot!

As a parent, I know it’s hard to let our kids struggle. I have a hard time letting my daughter struggle, even when I know it’s best. However, no worries, genetics took care of her lack of struggle. She gets plenty of struggle being dyslexic. I know, I have an awful sense of humor. It is only sort of a joke though, because I truly believe if she is going to be given a struggle dyslexia is one that is often filled with reward on the other side. I’m getting off topic, that is a conversation for another day. The point is letting our kids struggle is good.

For us adults, struggle keeps us growing. And don’t worry, the second you have a child you are automatically given years and years of struggle. And that whole messy yet rewarding parenting thing gives us considerable growth opportunity….as I am totally learning.  Career and relationships are another fantastic avenue for struggle. Lots of fun messes to be made there!

The fact is though, the younger we are when we learn to struggle, the better. It’s like a muscle. You don’t start out lifting heavy weights with high reps, you build up the strength to handle it. And as I’ve also learned, once you stop struggling (or working out).

So let’s start viewing struggles as opportunities. And not just an opportunity for ourselves. There is benefit to those around us. Just like in the gym, the ones who show us how the struggle is done, serve to motivate and inspire the rest of us.  In addition, we do learn by watching others as well. Seeing how you navigated a land mine might clear the path for those who follow.

Yes, sometimes we are going to fail. It’s just how it is, but we will learn from that too. The biggest failure is not trying. I know totally cliche! I couldn’t help myself. It’s true though, and you know it is. Taking the easy path may may feel good and might even lead to something pleasant. However, I’m not sure pleasant is good enough for me. I want something wonderful, something fantastic, something that fills me with joy and makes me want to burst inside knowing I DID THIS! And THAT, from experience, I can tell you only comes through struggle.

So, are you motivated to get to struggling? I hope so!

 

Until next time…

Tonya

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