Attitude for Adversity

by | Apr 7, 2023

Categories: Mindset
Hands holding up two cards, one with orange happy face, one with blue sad face

Motto: The Obstacle is the Path

My life motto that I do my best to live by is, “The Obstacle is the Path”. It stems through a personal story of discovering my greatest strength that is only made available through my greatest obstacle. Watch this short video below to hear the story.

In their great book “The Power of Moments” Chip & Dan Heath describe a phenomenon called post-traumatic growth. This term is used by scientists who have studied the concept deeply and found that great good can, and often does, come from great suffering.

Below are the five recommendations they list for how one can better leverage the power of trauma and challenge for great good in their lives:

1. Look for Small Peaks

“After my first cancer, even the smallest joys in life took on a special meaning…” was what one person they interviewed said. He went on to describe having a greater capacity to enjoy small things in life that he previously ignored: A strong cup of coffee, a morning with a child, a beautiful sunset, looking at a star filled night sky. Everything was seemingly more precious. It was easier for him to see all of the everyday wonders that constantly surrounded him.

2. Celebrate and Honour Relationships

One parent, when describing the death of her son, said that she “experienced renewed appreciation for her friends” and “came to cherish her husband more” and that she “acquired a heightened sense of compassion and empathy for others”.

As a trauma survivor, you can understand what other trauma sufferers are going through, you can provide loving support in ways that might be more challenging for others.

3. Acknowledge Your Strength

People can use trauma and challenge as a test to their capacity to stretch, to endure hardship, & persevere. Many they interviewed said, “If I can handle this then I can handle just about anything.”

4. Identify New Possibilities

People who are enduring challenge and obstacles sometimes find themselves identifying new possibilities for their lives. A common example was the pain of being laid off from a job which often opened up a door that led the individual to new work, new passions, and new paths that otherwise would never have been discovered. Often it takes one door closing for another to open.

5. Look For Spiritual Insight

Many times challenging circumstances turn on a part of us deep inside that previously laid dormant or undiscovered. Discovering or reigniting this part of us then spreads to affect every other area of our life for the better.

While they found many in the study did experience this post traumatic growth, there were also many individuals who did not. Many who were faced with extremely similar events and circumstances ended up with completely different results. It all came down to their responses.

Ultimately, we have two options in how we respond to adversity:

1) Realize that challenges, obstacles, and adversity are necessary tools designed to wake us up, make discoveries, and become fully alive and who we are meant to be. Events happen for me, not to me.


2) They can bury us under the weight of misery, despair, and anger. They can be the end of us. Sending us down the road of harmful addictions, alienating ourselves from friends and family due to our constant complaining, excuse making, and all around negativity.

It’s not the event. It’s how you respond to it.

This will always be a universal truth.

I think Shakespeare had it right when he penned,

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Your attitude towards adversity will make you or break you in life.

Choose wisely.

Matt Mantai, Author

Matt Mantai

Matt has been consistently strength training for over 25 years and has been a fitness professional since 2011. ARMOURY Fitness & Performance represents all he has learned in the principles of strength training, coaching, and personal development over that time. He lives to see others transform by the power of strength training, and his passion only continues to grow with each passing day. He lives in Didsbury with his wife, Fayth, and two sons, Uriah & Ezrah.

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