Sweet Adversity

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (673.5)
No one wants pain, troubles, or hardship, but it’s
inevitable that we’ll have plenty of each. And they
won’t come at times of our choosing or in manageable
doses. Adversity is never welcome, but it’s not
necessarily our enemy. As a blade is sharpened by
friction with a harder stone, our character and the
quality of our lives can be shaped and strengthened
through struggle and striving. Shakespeare said,
"Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad,
ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his
head."
Adversity’s precious jewel is cut by the chisels of
confidence and competence, forged in a process of
confronting and overcoming difficulties. As Nietzsche
said, "What does not destroy me makes me stronger."
The following poem by an unknown author reminds us
that what we need isn’t always what we want:
I asked for Strength and God gave me Difficulties to
make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom and God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity and God gave me Brain and
Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage and God gave me Danger to
overcome.
I asked for Love and God gave me Troubled People to
help.
I asked for Favor and God gave me Opportunities.
I got nothing I wanted,
But I received everything I needed.
The road to achievement and fulfillment is dotted with
hazards and tragedies that can wound us, frighten us,
and slow us down. But afflictions and misfortunes can
stop us only if we surrender.
If we exercise courage, patience, and perseverance, we
can overcome any adversity, bearing pains we cannot
relieve and solving problems we cannot avoid.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
(c) 2011 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation’s
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

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