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Adversity can be defined as an instance of serious difficulty or misfortune. So I would like you to take a moment and think about some adversities you may have experienced in your own life.

Have you ever experienced divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, depression, heartbreak, addictions or loneliness? Have you ever been fired from a job, been betrayed by a friend, been frustrated with your country or just felt lost and confused? Have you ever been short of cash, had a fight with your loved one or been taken advantage of?

If the answer is yes then you’ve experienced adversity in your life. Rest assured that you’re not alone. Every human being experiences some form of adversity in his or her lives. It’s inevitable and there is no getting around it. But have you ever wondered why? Why is life so difficult and challenging? Why do we have to deal with this thing called adversity?

It is my belief that adversity is actually woven into the fabric of life. Although life can seem difficult, if we face adversity with an open heart and an open mind I believe that every adversity actually brings us a gift and a lesson and if we are willing to look at adversity through a positive lens it can make dealing with adversity a lot easier.

One of my mentors was a man named Wayne Dyer who taught me a very valuable lesson when he said this: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” If we can look at adversity through a positive perspective it can definitely support us in identifying the gifts and the lessons that are embedded in each adversity.

Before you conclude that I’m one of those crazy woo woo new age positive thinkers, I wanted to share my story of overcoming some adversities in my own life and how I was able to find the gifts and the lessons in what some might describe as tragedy.

Back in 1983 I was living the American Dream. I was 23 years old and I was married, had a nice home and was a successful mid-level manager for a multi-million dollar building supply company.  Within a six-year time frame my dream turned into a nightmare as I went through a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure and a deep state of depression. To say I was experiencing adversity would be a gross understatement.

At the time, I definitely could not see the gifts or the lessons in my adversity. I was deeply depressed and felt like a complete failure. I felt hopeless and all alone and at one point I even contemplated taking my own life. Fortunately, I decided that I wanted to live and I made a conscious decision that no matter what it took I was going to figure out how to get my life back on track again.

I then decided to take the road less traveled, which propelled me to begin an inner journey that would change my life forever. This journey began by my willingness to simply declare that I needed help.  As soon as I made the commitment to ask for help my life changed dramatically.  The first step I took was to go to therapy and address a lot of unresolved emotional trauma that I was completely unaware of. The therapist helped me see how all of my life I was driven by a deep sense of shame that caused me to always seek other people’s approval and in doing so, I took care of other peoples needs before my own. She helped me understand how this behavior was triggered by a very abusive childhood that was actually the source of all of my emotional and psychological dysfunction.

Going to therapy and healing my emotional wounds opened the door for my complete inner transformation. After therapy, I became obsessed with my personal transformation and I invested literally hundreds of hours reading books and going to seminars dealing with personal growth and development. As a result, I can now declare that I am happier now than I’ve ever been and I am living my version of an extraordinary life. It hasn’t been easy but without question it has been worth it.

Which leads me back to my initial point I made about the gifts and lessons in all adversities. As I look back in retrospect, I can now see how my divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure were the best things that ever happened to me. If not for these adversities I would still be trapped in a passionless marriage, I would still be working for someone else instead of working for myself, I would never have discovered my gifts of writing and speaking and I would never have found my passions and purpose in life. Although the adversities were painful, I can now see how each adversity actually prepared me for this very moment in my life and if I had to do my life all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.

Every adversity that I overcame helped prepare me for the amazing life that I am currently living as an entrepreneur, author (7 books), motivational speaker, radio & TV host.  But most importantly, my adversities taught me how to truly love myself which allows me to love others. This has allowed me to create a rewarding and fulfilling marriage (17 years and counting) with a woman who is absolutely perfect for me and being a great husband is one of my proudest accomplishments.

So, if you are currently dealing with any adversities in your life rest assured that there are gifts and lessons for you to learn and as soon as you change the way you look at things the things you are looking at will change.

Look for the gifts!