I spent some time today on my stationary bike getting in a little workout. I live in Michigan so naturally it is snowing and miserably cold outside this time of year. Actual outdoor trail biking is not in the cards right now, unless you have a death wish. I love bike riding in the summer, so I bought a stationary bike for winter. The next best thing.
My stationary bike (NordicTrack) allows Internet access to classes and trainers. I can ride along with trainers all over the world on the screen attached to the front of the bike. Today I rode with a trainer in Moab Utah — beautiful scenery, sunshine, and actual wind noise coming to me thorough my “hand me down” ear buds my son gave when he upgraded. The trainer was fit, perky, energetic, and a bit of a philosopher. She talked throughout the 60 minute ride about feeling grateful and blessed to be in Utah riding her bike. She apparently had a nasty riding accident, which trashed her shoulder and gave her some new perspectives about life. As she was talking, a phrase that she used jumped out to me as an idea for this blog. She said that we are “shaped by intensity” and I related so much to that. Our lives are shaped by the challenges and negative circumstances that we face and how well we react to them.
Life is full of adversity. In fact, we all have struggles and challenges in our lives that have molded us into the people that we are today. We are shaped by the intensity of our experiences and our responses to them.
How do we develop into strong minded people that withstand adversity?
Take time to process. When bad things happen, strong willed people do not become overwhelmed by negative thoughts. They grieve their loss, but then take the time to process their emotion. Feeling your feelings all the way through allows you to eventually let them go and move on to building the strength that comes from adversity.
Most disasters in life come with some kind of lesson. Working to find the life lesson that adversity provides will allow you to avoid becoming a victim of future mistakes. Adversity often offers an opportunity for growth that we would miss if life were too easy. We are stronger after we push through something difficult, building up our resilience and adding to our belief in our capabilities.
The next time you fail or face an adversity, remember that your body and mind are stronger when they are worked. Easy does not build muscle, and easy does not build character. Strength is shaped by intensity.
Dr. Julie Cappel
“In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of.” - Howard Schultz
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C. S. Lewis