Life is filled with challenges. There are always difficult moments to live through. No matter where you grow up from, your education, social class and religious persuasions, we must all deal with the difficulties that arise on our way. If we had a choice, we would all have loved to have an easy life, painless and always filled of happy moments. But that will not be until you learn to turn your pain into passion.
Difficult times can come through finances, health, academics, business and personal relationships. Joblessness, divorce, hardships and depressing moments can be incredibly difficult to live with. We can get muddled up with the realities of life and they can be painful and difficult to live with. Trials are part of what it means to live. Therefore, to live a purposeful and successful life requires us to face the difficult moments. Challenges can either try us and like gold make us more beautiful or they can mar us and destroy us. None of these alternatives is a product of the challenges, but the nature of our reaction to the challenges as evidenced in our attitude.
In life, most of the times, the things that happen to us are fairly (in general terms) common. They may vary in their specific details but they are generally the same. We all face hard times and we all experience pleasant times. We all have times of weeping and times of rejoicing. We all have times of great success and times of failure.
Therefore, what makes a difference in who we become in life is not necessarily the things that happen to us or the external circumstances that confront us but how we react to them. This is why many wise men have concluded that ‘life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react”. The difference between the business man that succeeds after failing and the ones that quit is not the depth of their failures but their reactions to their failures
Reaction is a function of attitude. Our attitude towards life and everything in it will greatly shape the way we react to circumstances. This is why we have pessimists, realists and optimists. Given the same events and circumstances, three people with these different attitudes will react in different ways.
If we will be able to turn our pain into passion, we must have a right attitude towards life. Our attitude towards the pain and difficulties that must inevitably come will determine if our lives will be shaped by the trials or if we will cringe under the burden of the pain. A right attitude towards our pain will consist in the recognition of two things:
- Pain Purifies: Pain can sometimes be a great gift that helps to purify our lives and make us better people. Difficult circumstances can come to help humble us when we think that we are on top of the world and we look down at others with disdain. Our own sickness can help us to be more compassionate towards those who are sick. Our failures can help us to be better positioned to forgive others and support them when they fail. Trials can purify us and develop our humility, compassion and the power to forgive.
This will radically change the way we see our painful moments. Instead of cursing and getting depressed under the weight of our troubles, we can stand strong when we realize that this particular situation has come into our lives at such a time as this not to make us worse but to equip us to be better people. Pain builds up our character in a way that affluence and wealth does not. We need a healthy dose of those ‘two worlds’ to be really and deeply human.
- There are better things ahead: The reason why you must not lose hope no matter the condition of life you are in is that there are better days ahead. Tough situations do not last, tough people do. Your present moment does not determine your future. No matter your situation, there is a silver lining and a light beyond the tunnel.
Take Thomas Edison for example. His early childhood was marked as a kid whose teachers believed was mentally ill. Devoid of the opportunities of that formal education, he was homeschooled by his mother. All through his life, he had visions and he was undaunted in his pursuit. He was a great inventor, but underneath his success stories are the countless failures that seemed to mar all his efforts. His lab stove once went out in the winter, some of his chemicals were destroyed by the sun and some froze. He had a dream to make an underwater telegraph. The laboratory model of the transatlantic cable was designed, but the noise of traffic just outside his workshop shook the equipment and the process could not be completed. In his effort to invent the electric light bulbs, he was said to have failed many times over. Like his Father, an acclaimed businessman, he faced many setbacks.
But Edison never gave up on his dreams. He fought with resilience and perseverance and today he is known in history as one of the greatest inventors, a man who has changed the world by virtue of his genius. Difficult situations and circumstances were all around him, but he never gave up. Turn your pain into passion like Edison did.
If Edison had given up hope when the frustrations hurled at him, the world would have been worse for it. Edison understood that the future is not defined by his present failures but that the present failures are preparing him for a glorious future that is filled with incalculable potentials. We must look at our own pain with this kind of attitude.
Whatever might be your situation in life, there is hope if you will learn to stand above them. We do not intend to minimize your pain. We acknowledge that life can be pretty difficult and painful. But no matter what it is: a broken marriage, rebellious children, loss of job, unemployment, ill health, you can live above your conditions. Recognize and preach it to yourself that the difficult moments will only purify you and make you better. Have the passionate belief that your dark days are only making a way for the dawn of the morning; your ashes are making way for beauty. Understand that there are gains you will never have in life, places you will never go without those purifying trials. Embrace your difficult moments and turn your pain to passion. See the hope beyond the gloom; the future beyond the present; the prize ahead of the race.
Be resilient and persevere because your present moments are only working for you a better future. Stand up and stand tall, the future is bright. Turn your pain into passion!