As the senior staff writer for The Gates of Seminole Magazine (a Central Florida magazine), one of my jobs is to write my publisher’s notes for her (evidently, it’s the nature of this business to ghost write even more than the articles you’re assigned, oh well, money’s money). My publisher is a very accomplished woman in a variety of areas, but her chief talent is optimism. I swear, I don’t think Ashly has a negative bone in her body sometimes (Unless she calls me at midnight hiding in her office drinking two glasses of wine and eating cheetos–it is her vice, and thus far I’m the only person who has been able to get her out of it.)
Either way, for the Fall of 2009 edition of the magazine, Ashly wanted me to write about overcoming adversity. It’s a simple, feel-good piece that is supposed to work as a giant inspirational quote to those who are down in the dumps but still live in multi-million dollar homes. It just goes to show you, money cannot buy strength. Even millionaires need a pick-me-up. Here is the article, which she liked so much that she asked me to write a NEW publisher’s letter and giving this one it’s own special section. I hope you enjoy it.
Words from the Publisher
The Gates of Seminole Magazine
Fall Edition, 2009
By Kara Mae Adamo; Senior Staff Writer
John Vance Cheney once said that “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” Each day, we experience some kind of challenge. Whether it’s from a stranger, from work, or even from our children, adversity is one of life’s few guarantees.
In a world with so much turmoil, it is easy for us to fall victim to the pessimistic frame of mind that is unfortunately so common. Be it loss of financial security, health problems, or just an indescribable emptiness, we all face hardship at one point or another. The thing that irritates us the most is that, regardless of how much control we have over our lives, the presence of adversity is something we generally CANNOT control. What we can do, however, is learn from it and turn it into something positive.
The Chinese sign for adversity is a compilation of two symbols. The first is the symbol for “difficulty.” The second, interestingly enough, is the symbol for OPPORTUNITY. Instead of allowing yourself to feel helpless, angry, and imprisoned with self-victimization, take on the challenge at hand.
Life is only 10% what happens to you. The other 90% is how you react to it and how you grow from it. The mind is a very powerful thing. The secret to handling adversity is acknowledging the importance of mind over matter. As our thoughts determine our words, so our character determines how we handle life’s challenges.
It is important to realize that there is no failure in life. Failure–aside from, perhaps, the action of giving up completely–is a myth. You will survive through every moment of your life until your last breath. Take condolence in that and cherish the breaths that you have left. If you have not gotten the result you were looking for, take what you can from your experience thus far and MOVE FORWARD. There are several paths to get to the top of every mountain. Find a detour. Redirect. Reshape. Renew.
I like to equate life to a black and white photograph. As sure as there are shadows, there is also light. You need the contrast in order to see things clearly. And if things are never 100% dark; they are varying degrees of gray. The same goes for difficult challenges. They are not 100% impossible; they are just of varying degrees of difficulty. Where there is a will, there is always a way. “Can’t” should never be in your vocabulary.
Focus on your challenges, but also on your triumphs. Each time you believe in others, forgive people, overcome your weaknesses, and find yourself doing the right thing even (especially) when it’s difficult…you are succeeding in life.
It helps to start your day out on a positive note–without projection or negative energy. If you begin each day feeling like the sky is going to fall around you, then–figuratively–it will. Do not waste your day worrying about adversity. It will eat you up inside. Put things in perspective. Allow yourself five seconds to panic, and then throw that panic out the window. Refocus. Seize the day and overcome whatever it is you are facing as best you can.
Stop focusing on the obstacles; you will lose sight of the goal. We are all loved far more than our ability to comprehend. This fall, I encourage you to look at each challenge as an opportunity. It is not casual success that that thrills the soul. It is the honest, hard-earned victory that makes us feel like we are truly alive.