By Goke Ilesanmi
Life is indeed full of ups and downs that are often inevitable. These ups and downs can be summarised as “Adversity”, that is, a situation in which one has a lot of problems. Most times, adversity is destined to advertise your latent potential or ability.
As a young boy, I had always thought adversity was a very bad aspect of life until I was proved wrong one day. My mother sent me on an errand to a friend’s house and there was a fierce dog there that was always ready to prevent your entry. Despite the possibility of the dog’s attack, I took the risk of going there because of the respect for my mother and exceptional generosity of her friend, which even made a friend of mine to accompany there. We were about entering the house when the dog suddenly came out from its hiding place, barking repeatedly and pursuing us desperately.
While the fierce chase of the dog lasted, I discovered that I ran faster than my friend did. He was one of the fastest runners representing his school and I had always succumbed to him midway into any length of race, whether 100 metres or 200 metres because of my belief that he would win.
But the adversity of the rampaging dog “quarantined” my mediocrity and misconception, and stretched me to the limit to run faster. I started articulating my race bragging rights over my friend just as it is done by wrestlers at the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Luckily for us, my mother’s friend later saw us around the house and took us inside. After attending to us, she saw us off to avoid repeat of our encounter with the dog. But I did not tell my mother the dog encounter in detail so that she would not stop sending me there. After all, her friend’s generosity was enough compensation for me.
Another time and victory
So the following week, my mother sent me to her friend again. Then I remembered the dog, equipped myself with a plank and headed for the house. With boldness, I entered. When the dog saw me with the plank, it ran away and started barking from afar to the extent that everybody started commending my bravery. To reinforce my victory, I went there the second day on my own to boost my confidence. It saw me and ran away again.
I felt extremely happy because I could now go to the house anytime I wanted.
So the adversity of the dog made me realise my bravery and ability to run faster than my friend that I had adored in race. Most times, prosperity may be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without adversity. Challenges are therefore channels of advantages.
Paradoxically, to succeed in life as an individual or business, you need to pray for having more adversaries around you than friends. An adversary is a person, organisation or country that you are fighting or competing against. The reason for this paradox is that when you surround yourself with just friends alone, you may feel relaxed or complacent as you continue to swim in the ocean of over-dependence and trust that may be a fantasy after all. However, if you are aware that you do not have friends around you, you will face reality and consistently be on your toes to utilise and maximise your latent potential. It is interesting that corporate monopolies become complacent and mediocre because there are no competitors to put pressure on them to boost their performance and innovation.
On a daily basis, we pray to succeed in life and ignorantly pray against adversity. But success and adversity are conjoined twins! Most times when we pray against adversity, we are indirectly praying to terminate God’s plan for our life because the road to success is always rough. That is why most people fail to ply it. Success is often difficult in a comfort zone.
By way of biblical allusion, in Genesis 37, Joseph’s brethren (except Reuben) conspired together to sell him to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver and they (the Ishmeelites) took him to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard later bought him from the Ishmeelites. Being a handsome person, the wife of Potiphar wanted him to sleep with her. He refused and the woman then lied against him and he was sent to the prison. In the prison, his ability to interpret dreams made him shine as he interpreted dreams for Pharaoh, his butler and baker and was made a prime minister in the process at the age of 30. So his adversity massively advertised his ability. There is no gain without pain.
In 2001, a friend of mine faced so much adversity in his workplace that he repeatedly said “Why Me?” even though Dbanj had not released his hit song then. The intense pressure he faced made him embark on a massive job search and he finally got a job in a multinational firm where he was spoilt with all comfort. His soft and technical skills stood him out so much in the new workplace that within two years, he was given double promotion. He later thanked God for the adversity faced in the previous workplace that landed him in the new workplace.
Adversity can advertise your ability when you handle it with positive mindset and banish all sorts of fear. This is also possible when you always prepare for the worse and hope for the best with your Plans A and B. You can surmount your mountain of adversity when you believe that setbacks offer opportunities for comebacks. By way of flora allusion, note that a grain of wheat planted will first die, then germinate and continue to develop until it is due for harvest. You are in the incubation period of your success and can overcome your adversity when you stop doubting yourself and believe it is inevitable.
John 16: 33 embroiders this reality with a measure of hope thus, “… In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” So, commit your situation to God while doing your own bit. You are a success.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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