Finding Opportunity and Meaning in Adversity


yet? The past few weeks have brought an array of conflicting news on the pandemic, leaving us questioning - where is this elusive finish line? In this chapter of the #ChosenInsightSeries, Chōsen Co-founder John Stanton explores this unique dichotomy we are experiencing: 

that even though the pandemic will likely end with a long, protracted exhalation, we all have an opportunity to grow in this rare moment of shared communal adversity.

From John’s favorite Theodore Roosevelt speech: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” 

Whether we like it or not, we still need to put up a good fight to survive this challenging chapter of our lives. “We are all in the arena together. To emerge even stronger than before, we must refrain from being our own worst enemy. Instead, we embrace our growth mindset and choose to see hardship as something that is potentially positive,” says John. 

One day soon, we will be able to reflect on both the good and bad outcomes of this trying time and what it has brought for us as individuals, organizations, communities, and nations. This underlies the concept of posttraumatic growth - coined by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun - or positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis. 

The idea that human beings can be positively changed by their encounters with life challenges is not new. The theme is present in ancient spiritual and religious traditions, literature, and philosophy. Today, modern psychology has studied this in people who have endured war, natural disasters, bereavement, job loss and economic stress, serious illnesses and injuries. 

Despite the adversity resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, many of us will develop personally in unexpectedly positive ways in its aftermath; science and millennia of history of overcoming adversity as a species show that we have an immense capacity for resiliency and growth,” adds John.

So what happens if we choose growth over fear? John outlines five benefits:

  • A boost in strength and confidence when facing future challenges. 
    • The “I’ve got this!” phenomenon. 
  • A deeper sense of connection and belonging due to shared adversity.
    • The “We’ve got this!” phenomenon. 
  • Deeper appreciation for what’s truly important in your life.
    • This is one of John’s favorite and most personally confronting learnings from the last year! What has come up for you?
  • Exploration of new possibilities and opportunities: 
    • “In the Midst of Chaos, There Is Also Opportunity” - Sun Tzu, from 2100 years ago. We’ve got this. 
  • Re-examination of your place in the universe.
    • Many of us have reconnected with nature, our purpose / ikigai, have prioritized our mental health … and through this, reconnected with our version of spirituality.

While accepting that this time in our history is a kick to the head, we can choose to embrace the challenge of overcoming adversity as the means to growth: we can make way for year 2 of COVID to be full of positive change. 

Keen on learning how to increase your resiliency to drive growth? Join us on our 5-week online journey designed by our team of global performance experts composed of Gold Medal Olympians, Wellness Doctors, Nutritionists, Neuroscientists and Business Leaders. You will learn the science behind resilience and set up new daily practices to bulletproof your wellbeing. CLICK HERE to enroll today.

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