Have you ever noticed that adversity is often a good thing when spoken about in the past tense? I wrote a story a long time ago about how I got in way over my head exploring a cave in Austin. Being stuck in that cave was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. When we reached the end of the cave after eight hours, our muscles were failing, we were out of water and food, and could barely move. And we had another eight hours to get back out. I assumed I'd make it back out-- I just couldn't imagine how.
From the bowels of the earth, it didn't feel glorious. I was in pain and mentally and physically exhausted. I didn't want to be there and would have done anything to magically be whisked back to the surface. But as soon as I got out, I was very glad that I had done it. Not just glad to be out, but glad that I was there in the first place, and glad that it was difficult. Triumph over adversity is intrinsically appealing. Without adversity, triumph doesn't really exist.
When you look at it critically, adversity is actually a good thing to have. It's a method to bring out your best. At the end of that cave, I remember thinking that I didn't have the strength to make it back to the mouth of the cave. But I did have that strength. Adversity gave me no choice but to find it. Even today, nearly ten years later, I draw upon that memory to remind myself that I'm capable of pushing myself farther than I know.
Things happen in our lives that we recognize as being good. When that happens, nothing is required on our part to benefit. Something happened, it was good, end of story. Bad things are different, though. A bad thing happens, and then it's up to us. We can use that adversity as an opportunity for triumph, or we can be passive and allow ourselves to be run over by it.