What Doesn’t Kill You…
What do they say? They say “no pain, no gain”. They say, “what doesn’t kill you…makes you stronger”. The next question is: just who are “they”, anyway; and where are they coming up with these pithy little aphorisms? But the question which follows these two should be: are these statements true? If you’re not killed, do you get stronger? Is there gain without pain?
If you’ve been around longer than a few years, you know the answer to these questions intrinsically. You’ve seen it for yourself. You’ve been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt–or the challenge coin; whatever the case may be. Pain does turn into gain, and defeat transforms into development, and there are a number of reasons why.
One: Attitudes, Not Platitudes
The biggest issue here is: attitude. You’ve got to have the attitude to pick yourself up and keep moving forward regardless of whatever difficulties are trying to hold you back. Because make no mistake: you’re going to want to give in. It will be your ardent desire to let go the reins, close your eyes, and allow your life’s trajectory to go where it will. But your will must overcome that of general “life”, to simplify a concept.
What happens when you just allow a car to drive itself? It crashes into the wall, or the ditch, or over the bridge into a watery abyss. It doesn’t keep going forward. You’ve got to keep at least one hand on the wheel. In life it’s the same. You can’t quit driving because you hit a few speed bumps; in fact, that’s often the worst thing you could possibly do.
Two: Take Tips From Natural Areas Of Transcendence In Life
There are several great examples of overcomers you would do well to learn from. Bodybuilders who started out corpulent are a great example of those who have overcome. Soldiers likewise must overcome their youth and lack of worldly understanding to become strong, dependable components of the military. Artists do the same–except for the sellouts, of course.
When you’re in the gym and the weight is more than you’ve ever lifted, not hitting your intended reps can feel like defeat. But the next day, your body has put on more muscle, and you’re able to push your workout that “extra mile”. In entertainment, you’ll get spiked down not for professionalism or skill, but for politics and affiliation. But if you transcend, nothing can stop you.
In the military, cadets are yelled at, cajoled, discomfited, humiliated, confused, and sharpened until they’ve made a transition from inadequacy to skill. For many branches of the military, such a transition represents a true shift not only in personal ability, but in membership within a team.
This regularly results in them being presented a challenge coin. Such moments are often a very real honor.
Three: Memorialize Your Victories
Challenge coins are unique, and represent an achievement. They represent someone who has managed to transform continuous defeat into continuous development. Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, has also adopted a similar coin-based recognition system–though the achievement there is of another kind. Still, it’s an example of defeat being turned into development.
When you’ve got something that can be held onto, that is tangible, suddenly you have a stationary point of security that you can mentally use to encourage yourself when the going gets tough again. This can be all-important, as anyone experienced enough at the game of life understands the going will get tough again. You need reminders, whether they be a challenge coin, a traditional trophy, a souvenir, or a keepsake.
Four: Getting Into A Mindset Conducive To Developmental Success
Here’s the harsh truth: without some kind of defeat, there really can’t be any development. You’re not going to build muscle without resistance. The term “defeat” perhaps feels too strong. It has a connotation of permanence to it–but there is a difference between “defeat” and “utter defeat”. The one is total, the other can be overcome.
The problem with being defeated is that, unless you’ve got your eye on the bigger picture, there is also a demoralizing effect as well. Take jobs, for example. Say you’ve got a niche specialty, but you’re very good at it. The problem you have is getting employed. You’ve applied for a hundred jobs in the last three months–an average of one interview a day–and not been successful.
But you can’t give up; because that final interview could be just around the corner. Additionally, as you’re traveling around, you’re getting to know your surroundings in a way you couldn’t before. Plus, you are meeting people. You may be surprised to find what permanent relationships can result from chance encounters.
Five: Synthesizing Effective Techniques
Finally, you want to take the things that work best for you and put them together into a regular, daily plan of action. The key to turning defeat into development has to do with attitude and perception. You must perceive that there is more to life than that which is before you tangibly.
You must have an attitude that will not give up no matter the circumstances. Look at every defeat not as a measure of ambition contraction. Look at it as a challenge to be overcome. Add that to an observational mindset which watches others in their successes and failures, and ensure that you have keepsakes to remind you of your success–whatever works for you.
A five-fold plan like this can help you actionably progress toward continual victory in the face of outstanding odds. Remember: You Can Overcome.
Hellen McAdams is the chief strategist at Marketee.rs. She loves a good digital marketing strategy, and isn’t afraid to ask questions everyday to keep up with the industry’s trends. If you have any comments or questions, shoot her a question at