adversity - adversity 3 - adversity 4 - adversity 5

Affliction is able to drown out every
earthly voice. . . but the voice of
eternity within a person it cannot drown.

Søren Kierkegaard


Had there been no difficulties and no thorns in the way, then people would have been in their primitive state and no progress made in civilization and mental culture.

Anabdabai Joshee


Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Helen Keller


For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

Fr. Alfred D'Souza


Unfortunately, all is not beauty and peace.  I don't believe I've ever met a person who hasn't been challenged or wounded by something.  Difficulties present choices:  we can either waste away from our wounds or use them to grow our souls.  My husband, for example, is a survivor of the Second World War.  As a child, he suffered through six years of bombings, near-escapes, and concentration camps.  Part of his soul work has been the gradual transformation of this deep well of grief and pain.  As he heals himself, he also participates in healing that terrible idea of war in others.  I have always said that no one heals alone--we heal through and for one another.

Joan Borysenko


The human race has had long experience and a fine tradition
in surviving adversity.  But we now face a task for which
we have little experience--the task of surviving prosperity.

Alan Gregg


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All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story
or tell a story about them.

Isak Dinesen


People are never helped in their suffering by what they
think for themselves, but only by revelation of a wisdom
greater than their own.  It is this which lifts them out
of their distress.

Carl Jung


If there were nothing wrong in the world
there wouldn't be anything for us to do.

George Bernard Shaw


Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.

Oliver Wendell Holmes


Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.

F. Scott Fitzgerald


Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy
than to pass quickly through them.  The longer we dwell on
our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.


- adversity 3 - adversity 4 - adversity 5

tom walsh

We all face adversity, no matter what we are or where we are in life. I find that adversity comes in several different forms:  things that happen in an impersonal way (losing a job because of layoffs, getting an illness), things that other people do to us, intentionally or unintentionally (spread rumors or gossip, compete for jobs or promotions, hurt us physically), and things that we do to ourselves (cut ourselves down, fail to take action).

Of these three (and I know there are more), I find that what I used to be best at had to do with things I did to myself.  Loneliness was an obstacle for me, and I tended to shy away from people and let my fear rule me.  I found adversity in what other people did to me or said to me, and I found that I was the culprit, for I either listened to the wrong people or took what they said too seriously or too personally. This type of adversity has always been the most difficult for me to deal with, but I've learned that when I feel bad due to this sort of thing, I'm making myself feel bad because of my reaction to outside stimuli--the stimuli are doing nothing to make me feel bad.

This realization has been important to me, because I've always been very capable of dealing with physical or uncontrollable adversity.  When I've had no job, I've gotten down to the business of getting one, and I've been successful.  When I've been broke, I've budgeted my money and worked hard to get back on track.  When things have happened to me, I've dealt with them.

But the emotional adversity has taken much longer to deal with, for it took me so long to find the source--myself.  I believe that much of what bothers us in our lives, much of what we consider to be adversity from an outside source, is really a question of adversity from within--our own inability to give ourselves credit, to trust ourselves, to let ourselves live fully as the people we were made to be.  When I feel the touch of adversity now, I look first within, to find out why or how I'm causing myself to feel bad, to respond poorly, to act ineffectively. I almost always find the answer.

When I don't find the answer inside, I find almost always that the problem isn't nearly as drastic as I thought it was--the mountain truly was a molehill, and I can trust life and trust God to see me through to a fitting resolution to any problem.  It's nice these days to look at situations that I used to see as adversity as simply minor problems along the way, problems that exist, of course, but that are possible to overcome.



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Know this:  If you are following your own moral rules, the very things
you're ashamed of are likely the things about which you can feel most
proud.  Say you've battled obesity, mental illness, addiction, or abuse:
take pride in the extraordinary courage you've shown by surviving and
working toward health.  If others make you feel ashamed for what you
are--your heritage, your sense of what is true for you--you'll find that
expressing pride in those same qualities is the road to inner peace.

Martha Beck


It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one than a little;
a great deal may rouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure.

Grenville Kleiser


Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.
They're what make the instrument stretch, what makes you go beyond the norm.

Cicely Tyson


We live in a world in which the worst looks as if it is going to
happen and the worst often does happen, and yet out
of the anguish and waste, love and trust come in new forms.

Robert A.K. Runcie


adversity - adversity 3
adversity 4 - adversity 5

Adversity in the things of this world
opens the door for spiritual salvation.

A.J. Toynbee

People meet with adversity and fight against it tooth and nail, as
something evil, not knowing that it is merely preparation
for greater things and a larger and fuller life.

Henry T. Hamblin

When apparent adversity comes, be not cast down by it, but make
the best of it, and always look forward for better things.

Ralph Waldo Trine


Adversity is the trial of principle.  Without it a person hardly
knows whether he or she is honest or not.

Henry Fielding


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I'm very grateful that I was too poor to get to art school until I was 21. . . .
I was old enough when I got there to know how to get something out of it.

Henry Moore

"Crises" can help us discover much about ourselves and enrich our lives.
Another wonderful experience that can grow out of a seeming disaster is
the joy of appreciation.  AIDS patients who relearn how to walk, for example,
are often delighted at being able to take two or ten steps again.  They
appreciate tremendously something that they took for granted their entire
lives.  How many "healthy" or "normal" people are grateful that they can
walk or talk?  My guess is, very few.  But how much value is there in
something taken entirely for granted?  If "disaster" enriches our lives with
gifts that would otherwise have been taken for granted, is it really a disaster?
Or is it a gift in disguise?

Elisabeth Kuebler- Ross


Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.

Thomas S. Monson
Pathways To Perfection

It is true that people are sometimes hit by adversities beyond their
control.  But those so affected are better helped when they are
awakened to the resources they do possess than when they
are told they don't have any.

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day

So it is more useful to watch a person in times of peril, and in adversity to
discern what kind of person she or he is; for then at last words of truth are
drawn from the depths of one's heart, and the mask is torn off, reality remains.



Adversity draws people together and produces beauty and harmony
in life's relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers
on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.

Søren Kierkegaard


Difficulty is the nurse of greatness--a harsh nurse, who roughly rocks
her foster children into strength and athletic proportion.

William C. Bryant

A person doesn't realize how much he or she can stand until put
to the test.  You can stand far more than you think you can.
You are much stronger than you think you are.

Martin Neimoller


You cannot direct which way the winds of adversity
will blow, but you can adjust your sails.


I thank God for my handicaps for, through them,
I have found myself, my work, and my God.

Helen Keller

There are no more interesting pages in biography than those which
record how Emerson, as a child, was unable to read the second
volume of a certain book, because his widowed mother could not
afford the amount (five cents) necessary to obtain it from the
circulating library.
"Poor fellow!" said Emerson, as he looked at his delicately-reared
little son, "how much he loses by not having to go through the hard
experiences I had in my youth." It was through the necessity laid
upon him to earn that Emerson made his first great success in life
as a teacher.
"I know," he said, "no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a
sovereign mind as that tenacity of purpose, which, through all change
of companions or parties or fortunes, changes never, bates no jot of
heart or hope, but wearies out opposition and arrives at its port."

Orison Swett Marden
An Iron Will



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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.