Embracing the struggle

“Why are you doing this to me? So you can mix with spices and rice and be the lovely vitality of a human being. Boil me some more….I can’t do this by myself.” Rumi 

When we realize how our strengths are deepened when we are tested, we begin to welcome those tests and challenges. Rumi gives an analogy of a chickpea that is being boiled for a meal. At first, the chickpea complains of pain and wants relief as soon as possible. When it comes to realize that, through boiling, it is going to become edible, be eaten by a human being, and become part of a higher species, and eventually attain its destiny, it realizes that its freedom lies in the boiling. Understanding that boiling leads to growth and eventual salvation, it says, “Boil me some more, I can’t do this by myself.” 

Similarly, in our corporate lives, we go through a kind of “boiling,” whereby we are flavoured by our challenges, until we become part of a larger picture. 

How else can we appreciate the beauty of success if we have not felt the pangs of struggle? It is part of life; we cannot escape that. All we can do is learn to thrive on it and to enjoy it. Instead of fighting pain, we befriend it, for in reality that is exactly what it is – a friend. 

A youth once asked Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, how he could succeed. Mr. Watson advised the youth to double his failures. The faster he failed, the closer he would be to succeeding. If there are a set number of times we are going to fail before succeeding, then we should get through these numbers quickly!   

In corporate life, if you have no struggles, you have no success! 

Through pain, we tap into our innate abilities. It is this testing that triggers discoveries and breakthroughs in life. Franklin Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair, yet he was the only President of the United States of America to be elected four times. Beethoven was deaf when he composed some of his most enduring work. Professor Stephan Hawking was struck by ALS, yet works with brilliance as a theoretical physicist. 

These are but a few historical examples of men who embraced the struggle and achieved great results in spite of all of the difficulties. They showed that circumstances do not make you, they reveal you.

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