Adversity: A Good Thing?

Is it the successes in your life that define you?

The times that you won, got ahead and were victorious?

When did you grow the most — when everything went according to plan, or when things went south and you persevered through the storm?

Salkantay Trail - Snow Capped

Hiking 50 miles to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay Trail was one of the most difficult things I’ve done. Here we are during the hike, greeting unexpected September snowfall as we stand near the highest point of the day.


Tim Ferriss, in the Four Hour Work Week, says, “Adversity doesn’t built character; it reveals it.” When the going gets tough, how you react shows who you really are.

For me, going through multiple transitions in the past year has made me reflect. I’ve gone down a path that would have never had happened if I never changed jobs or hadn’t had that big breakup. The transition of breakups, new jobs, various roommates and living situations has given me the opportunity to experience a variety of situations and people.

It has meant that have been able to feel discomfort, loneliness and sadness – therefore prompting me to nurture my relationships with family and friends. I’ve confronted the reality of what it means to be single and broken up with. With these experiences, in the search to regain comfort, belonging and happiness,  I have started to listen and acknowledge more instinctively what I want and what makes me happy.

On a related note, an article by David Brooks entitled “What Suffering Does” via the New York Times explores how suffering affects an individual and what the right response to it is.

What is your adversity revealing about you?

How has it shaped you to be the person you are today?


Jen Burstedt

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