I admire women who return to school in midlife. Mothers, wives and business women who volunteer and care for their elderly parents, their days are already filled to capacity, their lives overflowing with responsibilities. Yet they seek out the best colleges with the most stringent requirements and toughest courses knowing that that is what it takes to succeed. They willingly forgo the luxuries of life knowing the end result will surely benefit them.
Young athletes desiring to become Olympic gold medalists participate in long, grueling hours of training – sore muscles, torn ligaments, sprains and fractures all a part of the process. Their lives revolve around one goal and one goal only: to be the best athlete in their field.
Small business owners work 80 hour work weeks for years yielding little financial reward. They make tremendous sacrifices anticipating the day when their business will turn over a substantial profit.
In each of these examples, people are willing to endure tremendous sacrifice, suffering, challenges, and deprivation in order to reap the ultimate rewards.
Those wanting to be the best are willing to go above and beyond, to give more than others, to accept any challenge. Determined to reach their goal they rarely complain. Though tired and stressed, they continually challenge themselves to do more in order to have more.
In life, the ultimate reward is not in having more (money, degrees, possessions) but rather in becoming more. In order to fulfill your potential and be the absolute best you can be you must be willing to face and accept life’s greatest challenges. And providing those challenges are some of life’s toughest coaches: the spouse who betrayed you; the boss who unfairly fired you; the jealous friend who ruined your reputation; the addiction; the illness; the financial loss.
Few people I know graciously accept these people or circumstances into their lives. When faced with unfairness, loss or injustice, they complain “This isn’t fair! I didn’t ask for this. I don’t deserve this!”
Many will seek to hold someone accountable and blame for their circumstances rather than embrace the very opportunity that can bring them to personal greatness. Tragically, they fail to understand that within every hardship lies a great lesson.
This person or situation has appeared to benefit them and once the challenge is met and overcome, they emerge victorious.
It matters not whether we consciously chose our circumstances or have life hand them to us unexpectedly. The manner in which we learn life’s lessons matters little. It matters more that we recognize each opportunity for what it is and learn anyway. Embrace all of your teachers, no matter how difficult they are. In the end, you will reap life’s richest rewards and become a person of excellence.
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