Is the road to happiness always paved with adversity? Is life’s journey always covered with unpleasant and shocking events? And how long would adversity last before happiness? Why does life seem unjust and partial in its treatment of humans?
The heart brims with these and many more questions, witnessing the crisis that has sentenced almost every aspect of our community life. Ranging from social crises to political, economic, leadership, and many more; the world practically glides daily to the brink. It will be unnecessary to begin to scribble the endless challenges hanging over humanity like the sword of Damocles. They’ve ever been with us. Moreover, that’s not the focus here. But how can we wade through the pressures to success and happiness?
The road to happiness is indeed paved with adversity. Happiness is not something readymade, it comes from faith, the decision and action to rise above whatever caused the sorrow. Happiness and fulfilment come either by overcoming your own challenges or helping others overcome theirs. Adversity, like necessity, breeds inventiveness. And invention births transformation.
Every ground-breaking technology and development in history is a result of an adversity-inspired innovation. And almost every successful person excelled by turning their pain or that of others into a passion. Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles after seeing people lining for soup on a cold day. Caresse Crosby invented bra because she could not fit her bust into a corset. Jan Koun introduced WhatsApp because he could not afford to call his father in Ukraine. Samuel Morse innovated telegraph to aid the faster delivery of messages after finding his wife dead because her message reached him too late. These are just few among many inventors in history who realized what to do in life by turning adversities into opportunities for greatness.
A detailed track of the voyage of the aforementioned achievers and many more reveals a similarity in the trend. Their qualities are those peculiar to the Israelis. So, let examine them one after another.
Adversity causes one to pay more attention to one’s feelings. Pain is not a mistake and it is not a curse. Pain is the body’s most significant alert system. It is a language our body uses to get our attention about something we will rather not pay attention to. Pain kills only when we fail to listen and respond to its message.
The first step in turning your adversity into inventiveness is to listen calmly to the pain. It will point to the next stage of connecting with ourselves. Like gold passing through fire to attain its full measure of value, you may never see the best of your abilities unless faced with real life challenges. Though the challenge may hurt so badly, though the defeats may leave indelible scars, it is, however, an opportunity for you to see your true self. Don’t let that challenge keep you head-down. Take the moment and discover.
Self-awareness is understanding your own needs, desires, failings, habits, and everything else that makes you tick. And guess what? You might be fortunate to clinch the needed invention or innovation answering your own needs.
To succeed in your mission, you must have a single-minded devotion to your goal. Abdul Kalam said, “Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birth right to be a person.” The world is not made for quitters, it is for those who are out to fight: the fight for identity, the fight for the right to be human. Several unfortunate situations will attend man’s journey through life. These will not only set boundaries and barricades on the path, but will also try to rid man of his self-worth, self-esteem and right to be a person.
Great men are not defined by their circumstances. They utilize whatever situation they face as a platform to express who they are. Though without limb, Nick Vujicic knew from an early age that he was different. He never traded that with the discrimination around him. But with great tenacity and strength, he has used his disability to inspire the world, giving hope to many.
You need such strength and determination if you’d ever sail through the adversity. There is nothing that can hinder a determined mind.
3. Insatiable questioning of authority.
It’s called innovation or invention only because it doesn’t conform with the status quo. Robert Kiyosaki wrote, “If you want to thrive in today’s economy, you must challenge the status quo and get the financial education necessary to succeed.” Hubert H. Humphrey also noted, “If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger.”
The ability to challenge the authority is a major milestone in the success story of Israel. From the age of zero, they are educated to challenge the obvious, ask questions, debate everything, and innovate. Israelis have the willingness to take on higher authorities, rather than simply following directives from the top. Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash once said, “Our religion is an open book.” Judaism and Israel have always cultivated “a culture of doubt and argument, and open-ended game of interpretation, counter-interpretations, reinterpretations, opposing interpretations.”
This summarizes what runs at the backstage of Israel’s uncommon innovations and entrepreneurial success. The status quo locks up creativity, and shuts the doors to development. The faster you can break out of the status quo, the quicker you rise to the status of your identity. Never settle for the norm.