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Monday, July 27, 2015


What is adversity? 
Well, it's anything that seems to be an obstacle in your path. Anything challenging to you that makes you think, and any sort of change that is not easy to adapt to. 

Every protagonist faces adversity, whether it's a difficult choice or a looming monster challenging them to battle. 
So what do you do, when a monster is staring you in the face? Do you run? Do you challenge it? Or do you pretend it isn't there? 
Many people deal or don't deal with adversity in many ways. Some people judge others by how they deal with adversity. 
But why is adversity so important in stories? Because adversity is important in life. 
The way a person deals with adversity, and the way they choose to reflect on it really can make a difference in the way they live their life, and how they view it. 
I'm going through adversity myself, but it may not seem serious: instead it's a bit embarassing. I almost accepted a false job. So I was scammed. What was the first thing I did? Did I rise up and say no? Did I make a decision right away?
No. I panicked. I began to say horrible things to myself ("You were an idiot." and "You let this happen.") 
But did that help me deal with the adversity? Absolutely not. 
It's normal to be overwhelmed when adversity rears its head, but it's not healthy to determine that it is your fault. This is a natural response, but it doesn't do anything for you. 
Sure you can complain, vent, and blame others, but that still doesn't work. 
So how do you handle a difficult situation? 
One way to handle it, is to accept it, and use it. 
This way is not often taught in schools, or even in everyday media. But the thing about accepting adversity is that you can find meaning in it. That meaning becomes a part of who you are. 
It's like leveling up in video games, and the hero's path in novels. Every conflict you face is a part of your story, and your journey. Each conflict is a step toward finding who you are, and just how far you can go. 
Now, my brush with adversity is minor compared to others.
My brother has Autism. And I can't tell you how many times my brother, my family and I were judged, ridiculed, and ignored because of it. 
We live in a society where different is often ostracized. And now that Autism is becoming more recognized, and less "abnormal" future Autisic children will never have to deal with some of the ignorance and indifference of the school systems that we did.
But that's not the point. 
The point is, my brother struggles with things that are not a struggle to other people. And because of this, he believes that he will not succeed in living a normal life. 
His adversity is a constant battle with acceptance, and just as we all struggle to accept ourselves, so my brother deals with outward and inward ridicule. 
I learned a lesson while working in Korea about the response that kids had to adversity. 
In my students' cases. Many of them didn't want to learn English. But when I reasoned with them, and agreed that English was difficult, but I believed they could learn it: things changed. 
Did I have to do this? No. But I did, because I understood that when you are faced with adversity, the last thing you want to be told is "you can't". I was offered no guidance, and no extra counseling with these students, but through daily encouragement and positive feedback, they got better. 
Now, we're all human, and no matter what problem we face, people will tell us to deal with it, but maybe that's just another way to call it a burden or obstacle. 
Instead, you can think of adversity as a tool. 
As Aimee Mullins explains in this video: instead of asking "How can I get around this?" we can ask "What can I do with this?". 

Seeing adversity, difficulty and even failure as a step toward self discovery may be just the perspective that inspires you to use it. Adversity is the opportunity to write your own story.  

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