23 Nov 2016

Struggle can feel like failure and can manifest in many forms like heartbreak, being fired from your job, moving back home, being unable to lose that holiday weight, not getting that raise or promotion…No matter what struggle and failure looks like to you, it feels the same across the board. It sucks.

Lately I feel like I’ve been failing on so many levels that I’m one wrong move away from flunking out of the school of life. Then I woke up the other morning to an Instagram post by Gloria Chik of Rogue Stories that really resonated with me that was captioned: Trust your struggle. Suddenly, my perspective on my recent floundering shifted.

Suddenly, I wasn’t a victim to unfortunate circumstances but was choosing to OWN my reality and mend my trust issues. Trust that everything, especially these bad things, are happening for a reason. That it’s not for nothing but serves a higher purpose that I cannot see yet because unfortunately foresight is NOT 20/20.

It’s kind of like when a bird poops on you and people tell you that it’s good luck. I guess it’s supposed to make you feel better to believe that the bird was being a prophet of good fortune instead of just being an asshole.

Perhaps believing in meant to be’s is just a form of self-soothing; a comforting illusion of control when in reality, we have none. To think of suffering as a downpayment on happiness; our pain as a responsible investment to balance out into future bliss.

Maybe thinking that things happen for a reason is superstitious, but so is worry. Isn’t it better to live with hope instead of in despair? At least if what you fear most happens anyways, cutting out worry means you don’t have to suffer twice.

Even if you don’t believe that things happen for a reason and that everything that happens in life is an arbitrary series of events, there are still some real benefits from things as unpleasant as struggling and failure.

Here are 7 Ways Failure and Struggle Can Be A Blessing:

1/ IT ENHANCES SATISFACTION WHEN WE GET IT RIGHT
Martin Luther King Jr. notes “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Contrast serves to ensure that we don’t take good things for granted. If we succeeded all the time, we wouldn’t derive as much satisfaction from it. Our failures and the difficulty getting past them makes attaining those hard-won goals much sweeter.

2/ IT INSPIRES CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
The other day someone asked me "If you could choose to be right today and wrong tomorrow or be wrong today and right tomorrow, which would you choose?" I chose the later. Failing pushes us to explore all our options for the right one and we improve upon each iteration. Being right all the time encourages complacency and mediocracy.

3/ IT MAKES US TRUST OUR STRENGTH
We can’t control the things that happen to us but how we arise to meet the challenge is up to us. Each time we persevere through struggle and failure they become less intimidating and it strengthens our confidence in our abilities to solve anything life throws at us. They are not roadblocks, but opportunities for us to show ourselves what we’re made of.

4/ IT KEEPS US HUMBLE
Failure messes with our ego. It knocks it down a peg and allows us to be more vulnerable and in touch with the things we really want. It throws into relief the difference between what we think we want when in actuality, it’s just to feed our ego; to polish the shiny veneer we’ve cultivated for public viewing.

5/ IT RECOMMITS US TO OUR GOALS
When we work really hard for something, struggle and fail time and again, whether we keep striving towards that goal is indication that we really want the thing. Each time we encounter a messy roadblock, we have to consider “Do I want to keep going? Is the end goal worth it?” With each attempt, you shed any doubts you may have had. These brick walls exist to show us how badly we want something.

6/ IT MAKES YOU APPRECIATE YOUR CREW (EVEN MORE)
When we’re in pain, we tend to push people away because we’re ashamed that our lives aren’t “perfect” or maybe we don’t want to feel like we’re burdening people with our problems. If you can be brave enough let people in, you’ll feel better because gratitude will replace (or at least dull) the pain. You realize how rich your life is already because you have people present to steady you when you stumble.

7/ IT MEANS YOU WERE BRAVE
Whether you’re going through a breakup or starting over in your career, while you may feel like you failed in some way, you are NOT a failure. There’s a difference. You will torture yourself, feeling like you could’ve tried harder, been better, smarter, more dedicated… but failure and struggle means you tried. It means you were brave and you should NEVER feel bad about that.

ETC is the overflow of thoughts in the mind of Teri Yeung. It’s a place full of stories of travel adventures, imparted lessons learned from life’s achievements and failures, behind-the-scenes of projects and experiments, and anything else that inspires excitement and joy.

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