Using Adversity as a Driver Toward Success

They say that anything worth having is worth waiting or fighting for.  It all depends on how a person views adversity.  In many ways, Louise’s story is like my own…like so many others, who were once young and starting out in life. For many, their later years in high school or their first years in college is the time where they learn their first lesson in learning that hard work and solid planning are the basic keys to success.  This experience is what leads me to tell Louise’s story about how the hard work part becomes clearly evident, usually, when a youngster gets their first job.  The classic one and perhaps the easiest, is one of wait staff at a restaurant or bar.  Many young people choose this as a transient means of employment to help pay college tuition and recover basic bills.  The young lady in question, Louise, got her start at a trendy, local bar in Queens, NY.  She claimed she loved the job because she had heard so much about the hardship of waitresses and wasn’t sure how this job would be.  To her relief, it turned out to be a laid-back and fun, but cool and refined atmosphere where she didn’t have to endure much, if any, unwanted customer harassment.

The First Job:  Waitress Gig

However pleasant and enjoyable the atmosphere was at the job, there were times when Louise thought the first choice of being a waitress wasn’t the best one.  Now, in hindsight, it was only her first job and as first jobs go, it was a pretty good one.  The clientele was great and the tips weren’t bad either.  Of course, there was the occasional dash and dine, customer complaint about cold food or a stolen table from a fellow wait staff employee looking to earn their tips, at any cost.  But, these problems came with the territory, just like her life’s problems came with their perspective territories.  She learned then, like so many young people, that the goal of her college education was to change her perspective and in doing so, achieve her desired territory.  To Louise, it would be easy to sit around and mope about the job, but she realized that she had to own up to the second part of the keys to success and go into a solid planning phase.

The Incubation Period

For starters, she had to decide what was important to her in her life. What she wanted to do with the rest of her life, for a time, was of little importance because of the folly and inexperience of her youth.  In many cases like Louise’s, the youthful years are mostly spent deciding upon what’s important.  There are so many avenues out there, some of them bad, for any young person to choose…or to fall into.  Fortunately, for Louise, it may have been luck or God that was on her side.  Like Louise, I can certainly relate that that is a fire that she is glad she made it through.

In Hindsight

Once Louise decided what she wanted to do, she had to figure out the surest way to go about things.  There were always the quicker, more expedient options, some of which she tried, like trade school and getting a higher paying job, but ultimately, she just decided to finish school and get her degree in the field she enjoyed the most…and still does.  She learned that working in crumby jobs that a job was not her life’s calling.  In order to achieve her calling, she needed to have discipline and focus.  Louise also found out that life has ways of throwing curves when you least expect it.

Twists and Turns

Yep, then there came the setbacks and the slow periods for Louise.  There were times where other jobs had to be taken in order for her to pay bills and support herself.  These times seemed to drag on, but again, in hindsight, it was all part of the waiting for her.  The will to keep going and striving, well, that was the fight.

The Lesson

The most important lesson through the whole of Louise’s life is simply that her adversity became a catalyst for her success. Her message is that whatever anyone wants to do, it’s worth waiting and fighting for.  She can look back fondly on the waitress gig and be thankful that it was there when she needed a launching pad to begin on the road to fulfilling her life’s dreams.

Writing about Louise’s story brings into view my own story of overcoming the hurdles of life and hanging on to the merry-go-rounds, as they whirl around at a blinding speed.  Sometimes, it seems that the hits can be insurmountable.  The hit may come as having to drop out of school to take care of an ailing parent…a labor of love, and they die, anyway.  Sometimes, hits may come as lost jobs, evictions and long periods of unemployment.  But, life teaches the wise to be patient and accepting of lessons…even the ones that don’t appear to make any sense. There is meaning in every event of life, even if you catch it later on, in hindsight.

Given, Louise’s narrative is just a snapshot of her life.  Of course there were many things that Louise experienced that shaped her present success. However, the most important aspect to her success, as well as many other truly successful people, is that at some point, she had to redefine what it meant to be truly successful.   In our youth, we may have a, seemingly, clear idea of what success truly encompasses.  But, it changes along life’s journey.  Along the way, different experiences teach us what is truly valuable. Those experiences cause us to examine ourselves and reassess what success means for us.  By the time we achieve the thing we wanted, we may find ourselves lacking in some way, often spiritually, and at that point, we find that our road to success is just a never-ending journey filled with mistakes and growth.  Just like Louise, I learned not to stop and never to give up.  The end of the journey doesn’t appear until the road stops.

Proverbs 24:16

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

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