A lot of us who aren’t millionaires wish we were. A lot of us who aren’t brave wish we were. But the truth is in order to truly appreciate being millionaires or exploit bravery; we need to have been poor and cowardly. Yes, some of us are born with luxuries, which we may perceive to be advantageous. But on the contrary the things we believe to be advantageous are often disadvantageous. A perfect example of this can be the story of David and Goliath. Malcom Gladwell discusses this theme in his book “David and Goliath” perfectly. Assuming all the details of the story are true, it serves as a perfect example of how certain perceived advantages are sometimes merely illusions. Goliaths height and weight caused him to appear powerful and fearful, which David exploited by keeping his distance and trusting his sling abilities (which is said to be as powerful as a gun). David also knew that Goliaths strength and size would serve as a disadvantage, for Goliath would be slow and arrogant. Goliath would later be defeated only because he underestimated the advantage of David being in a perceived disadvantaged. One of the biggest lessons that can be taken from this prominent story is that David never would have been victorious had he not experienced anxiety and fear. People underestimate the power of fear when in fact the most noble and rewarding actions have often transpired from such feelings.
We´ve all had our parents tell us about their struggles when they were our age. My parents both had poor upbringings and have reminded me countless times of how lucky I am to be able to pull out my phone and Google any question that boggles my mind, how lucky I am to have several pairs of shoes each year and how lucky I am to never have to worry about finding food on the table. As I have grown older I have come to realize that YES I am lucky in many ways yet unlucky in many others. For example, I never looked at school as a privilege because it was easily available to me, which led to me taking it less seriously. I never feared not having enough food, which led me to underappreciate the effort my mother would consistently apply in the kitchen. In fact, it was not until I went to boarding school and lived on my own for a couple of years that I began to appreciate the hundreds of things I took for granted when I lived at home. Even when I lived alone my parents always made sure to give me a generous allowance once a month, which I typically blew on the first week and ate noodles for the rest of the month. I accidentally taught myself the value of food and I´ll tell you a secret, anything tastes like heaven after a month of eating just noodles.
The truth is there is no value in a life where everything comes easily. We need challenge and change. We need obstacles. I am not saying this as person who has always been protected and cared for excessively by my wonderful parents, but as a person who is well aware of the many unprecedented ways in which a person’s life can be ill-fated. It is absolutely not my intention to diminish the severity of some of the challenges people around the world face. I won´t for a second pretend to know the feeling of those going through unspeakable horror on a daily basis. Having said that, I do believe we need to experience at least small amounts of fear, anxiety, loss, pressure etc. For it is in overcoming these feelings that we find true fulfillment and success.
Every problem has a solution and as long as these problems are not life threatening I welcome them with open arms. I invite scenarios in which I see myself overcoming and protruding as a stronger and more enlightened version of myself. Without hardship and without tests we will not find progress. We consider Bill Gates, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Charlize Theron and countless more to be successful and influential role models. However, what people do not realize about such individuals is they have all reached detrimental crossroads in their lives. From experiencing her mother being killed by her father (Charlize Theron), to being raped at the age of 9 (Oprah), to dealing with dyslexia (Richard Branson), each of these particular list of people have gone through unthinkable circumstances. Yet, they still managed, against all odds, to become overly successful. In fact, it is hard to imagine them reaching this level of success had they all not experienced their respective adversities. Is it simply a coincidence that people with such horrific pasts have also become people of great importance today? I think not.
Do not underestimate the power of being at a perceived disadvantage. As the statement suggest, most disadvantage are merely deceptive perceptions. Do not allow countless tests that life throw at you to consume you. Embrace difficulty and tread through with perseverance and meaning. We learn much more from problems than we learn from peace. That is not to say that we must find or attract problems, but rather live freely and purely with conviction that we can overcome whatever challenge and become better souls as a result.
Thanks for reading 😊