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Adversity is the difficulties or misfortune someone faces. There are many different kinds of adversities that one could face: physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, etc. Every adversity an individual faces brings light to valuable qualities that you would not have been exposed to otherwise. Fearing adversity will only drag you further down. Horace’s assertion that “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant” is completely accurate. Of course, there are times where adversity could lead to someone’s destruction, but that is the person’s own inability to learn from his/her mistakes. After you have experienced adversity, you will be able to prosper in a way that you were incapable of doing before.
When you fall down, you must get back up, even stronger and better than you were before. My dad went through many struggles growing up. Residing in a small, destitute village located in Pakistan, there were minimal opportunities for him. As a child, he lived in an impoverished environment, barely making ends meet. Instead of letting those hardships dishearten him, he used them to fuel his desire for success. He finished high school, but did not go on to get a college degree, for that was a highly unrealistic dream. Knowing how strenuous it was and still is to get a visa to America, it was a miracle from God that he was able to immigrate so quickly to the U.S. in 2002 with his family. It was still an uphill battle from there, as he had to find a way to survive in a foreign country he knew little-to-nothing about, all the while taking care of his wife and children. He had no money. He had no job. He had no other relatives. These factors only made him realize how hard he needed to work, and aided him in finding his true strength. He did not want his kids to grow up in the lifestyle that he had to persevere through. Years of hard work, prolonged workdays, and starting from the bottom finally paid off. Today, he is a successful businessman in the gas station industry. Without adversity, my dad could not have prospered in the extraordinary way that he did. Adversity opened his eyes to what the world has to offer and guided him into going after what, at one point, seemed impossible.
To continue, adversity influenced some of history’s biggest names. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was our 32nd president, and the only president to serve more than two terms. At 39 years old, Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio, a virus that can cause paralysis. Looking back at the time period, the disabled were often separated and had a hard time finding jobs, let alone having a political career. Roosevelt’s disability made him appear as weak. As president, there is an obligation to maintain an image of strength and liveliness. Roosevelt did whatever possible to show that his disability did not weaken him; he used canes and braces to stand for all his speeches, hiding the extent of his physical limitations from the American public. It is evident that Roosevelt’s adversity made him a better president by teaching him diligence and by literally putting him into the shoes of the less fortunate, making him more compassionate towards them. His illness provided him with bravery and courage that he did not have prior to it. Franklin Roosevelt went on to be, considered by many, one of the greatest presidents of the United States.
Another crucial example of how adversity influenced some of history’s biggest names, is the influence it had on the infamous Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein is a name known to everyone. He had one of the most brilliant minds in history, but how did he get there? It was a tough road. Einstein could not speak until he was 4 years old and did not learn to read until he was 7 years old. Moreover, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which contributed to his difficulties in learning. Once Einstein graduated from college, he had a hard time finding employment. It is astonishing that someone with that grand of an intelligence endured struggles with education. That did not stop him for making ground-breaking discoveries in physics and changing science as we know it. Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself,” confirming that he would not have been as successful in his discoveries as he was without the setbacks that he had to face.
Adversity is one of the major keys to success. There are no failures. There are only lessons learned. An abundance of popular names come to mind when thinking of people who achieved success despite big obstacles in their paths. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” When the negativity of your mistakes escapes your mind, only then will you able to prosper from the adversity you experience.
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