Updated: Feb 14
Misfortune is a stepping stone for genius, the baptismal font of Christians, treasure for the skillful man, an abyss for the feeble. – Honore de Balzac
At the age of two, a father deserted the family and left the mother with two boys to raise. To survive off relatives, the family had to move between 9 cities within 9 years. That is a tragic excerpt of a misfortune story right? But that did not stop Stephen Edwin King from becoming one of the most renowned writers of the world. The ride in life is not a jolly road like that of the amusement park rides, it has a fair mix of ups and downs. It is no surprise that we will all have our time at the peak and at the low ebbs of life. The difference between all men is in how we handle the various shocks we face when our brains have to encounter the fight or flight method. Having lived through the thickest and darkest of times, I can boldly tell you about the daunting jaws of misfortune. But more confidently I can tell you of the great power that comes from a mindthat is unwilling to relent in the face of adversity. The mind that holds on to the tiniest flicker of hope and the slimiest of faith that nothing tarries forever, that there is bound to be a positive change, is the mind that rises above all else!!
No one will ever want the shade of misfortune to fall on them, we all wish we could bask in the glow of contentment all of the time. We all say life is sweet when we need not weep or sweat, but less do we remember that heavy potatoes rise to the top on rough roads. Ivan Panin has it well said; “Only he has a right to complain of undeserved misfortune, he who is unwilling to accept undeserved good fortune.”Life is fond of dishing us with diverse meals per time, it could be a salty sauce now and a sweet dessert later. Status or wealth does not mean an assurance against misfortune, it is not for the poor alone. Everybody alike will have a time of despair, sorrow, and gloom; and only then can we learn to be resilient. It is the hot dark earth that bakes the seed until it bursts forth with new life. The trying times of life are meant to shed off us the layers of cowardice, fear and weakness.
In the face of Misfortune
François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) once said, “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.” You must have heard it from several sources that change is the only thing constant, but you can help it or hinder it. To drive change, you must have a strong resolve for it. Misfortune is not meant to be your permanent reality, but a rock bottom state to help you learn how to rise. Similar to the refining process, challenges are life’s way of shaping us into a finer mold. You must be able to look within and garner the strength to go up when there is no way down after hitting rock bottom. Your life should not be home to misfortune, but you have to decide to send it packing. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them said Washington Irving. The seat of your victory or defeat is your mind, you must train your mind to continue to rise. The coffee bean and carrot are normally hard on the outside but putting both through hot water can cause a great change. Through the turmoil of heat, the coffee bean comes out causing a change to the hot water. The carrot, on the other hand, comes out soft and deformed. It was the same challenge but the difference is in the reaction. I can attest that for us, the difference is in the mindset.
To knockout misfortune and come forth stronger, you need to maintain a positive spirit and to try and see beyond the current situation. To do better than your thought in pain, you need true inspiration, not just a few lame words of “I understand why you couldn’t………..” No one can share a story better than the one who wrote the scripts and the one that acted the scenes. It does not matter how many times you have listened to or read a motivating story,you will be better inspired when it comes from a living testament to that story. Life experiences and stories that share resilience and perseverance are very important in learning to ride on the wings of misfortune. Start where you are, Use what you have and do What you can but remember to always give thanks for the greatest gift of all “Your life” and the only way to do that is to prove that you have done everything you possibly could to make your life count.