Adversity Is The Forge of Courage

I am a voracious reader. For more than a few years I did not admit to many people that science fiction was my genre of choice. What can I say, I grew up on Robert Heinlein and once you’ve read him the addiction to SF is entrenched. The adage above came from a book I’m currently reading. The saying stopped me cold because it so aptly connects to almost every part of life.

But like so many of these sayings I run across it needs to be altered a bit. It could just as well read “Adversity Is The Forge Of Success.” How many times has adversity affected you? And how many times has something good come from it? Adversity is defined as a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress. Doesn’t adversity forge many of the best characteristics in people-leadership, knowledge, experience, achievement, fortitude, patience, mental toughness etc.? Working through misfortune or any other obstacle builds toughness.

Do you ever know how really good you are without some version of adversity? Prior to going into the army in 1968 I had experienced little in the way of adversity, other than flunking out of a couple of schools. Did I have the right stuff to survive? Basic training, advanced infantry training, OCS, airborne, Ranger schools, and a year in southeast Asia did the job of “forging” an individual who understood how adversity prepares you to not just survive but grow! I was able to learn about leadership, thinking on your feet, risking, examining options, preparation, courage and much more.

I learned perhaps the most significant lessons low crawling through the red clay of Fort Benning, Georgia. What is a mistake other than choosing the wrong option? So you fail? Making bad decisions can lead to adversity but people can survive adversity. What’s worse than adversity? Never putting yourself under the gun making important decisions or executing tough business decisions. How will anyone know what they’re made of if they don’t put themselves in the way of adversity?

I want to take just a minute to thank all of the people who serve our country, many of whom are in harm’s way. Recently a Chinook helicopter went down in Afghanistan with 30 soldiers aboard. Their deaths left a trail of sorrow across the country. The men and women in the armed services are true heroes. Often times their version of adversity will leave them mentally or physically challenged or dead! Keep them and their families in your prayers. Thanks!


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