The Struggle Can Be the Reward
by Dr. JC Shegog, CLEI, CPPS, SME
The average person avoids challenge like he or she is avoiding the plague. Struggling isn’t enjoyable, so it’s natural to avoid it as much as possible. There’s an issue with this strategy:
There’s a lot to be gained from struggling.
There are many aspects to humans that are anti-fragile, meaning that stress makes them stronger.
• Exercise is a stressor that delivers positive benefits.
• Being hot or cold, within reason, is good for your health.
• Fasting is beneficial.
Struggling is similar in that it makes you better than you were before the struggle.
Consider these benefits of struggling:
1. You learn a lot about yourself when you struggle. You don’t learn a lot about yourself while you’re watching a movie for the fifth time from your couch. When life is easy, you have a natural tendency to coast. Any struggle is a test of your will, ingenuity, and perseverance.
2. It’s a chance to learn how to use failure. Struggles often end in “failure.” Failure is a powerful tool when used properly. If you never struggle, you never get to practice using failure to your advantage.
◦ The most successful people fail a lot. They also know how to use failure to come back better and stronger.
◦ You also have the opportunity to learn that failure isn’t as traumatic as you thought.
3. You can learn to persevere. The average person won’t struggle very hard, or for very long, before giving up. Any challenging time can be used to increase your perseverance.
◦ Success is practically guaranteed if you never give up on your goals.
4. Discipline is required. To overcome a challenge, discipline is required. It’s easy to procrastinate when you have to do challenging things. Discipline is needed to do the hard thing.
5. You become mentally stronger. Struggling can make you stronger psychologically. People that have had an easy life tend to be mentally soft. Only those that have faced struggles have had the chance to build mental toughness.
◦ Think about someone you know that’s had an easy life. How tough are they?
6. Your self-confidence increases. Effectively dealing with struggles makes you feel like you can take on the world. You feel confident and powerful. You gain self-confidence by dealing with adversity.
7. Victory is sweeter. Easy victories don’t feel meaningful. The more you struggle, the more you appreciate that success. If you can easily finish a marathon, you just don’t get the same satisfaction as you do when it’s a real struggle to finish the last seven miles.
8. You like yourself more. Putting up a good fight is great for your self-esteem, especially if things work out in the end. Just knowing that you were willing to keep going when the average person would’ve given up is a good feeling.
◦ We admire others who persevere through obstacles. You’ll like yourself more when you overcome obstacles, too.
9. Life’s other challenges seem small by comparison. People that never struggle are stressed by small things. Those that have lived hard lives take everything in stride. A little struggle now and then can remind you that your everyday life isn’t so bad after all.
Struggling is good for you. The old adage, “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” holds a lot of truth. When you struggle, you grow and become more capable. It can increase your confidence, mental stamina, and appreciation for life.
Be willing to take on challenges in your life. However, be smart and use your energy wisely. Some struggles are more worthwhile than others. Find meaningful struggles in your life to conquer and you’ll enjoy the benefits!
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