“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
While passing his way, a kind, compassionate man found a baby butterfly trying to come out of its cocoon hanging on a dried tree branch. The man went to his work, and a few hours later, while falling back home, he found the infant still struggling to get out of the cocoon shell through its tiny hole. The man felt to help the baby butterfly and cut the cocoon’s body. It was a great relief for the baby, but surprisingly, the newborn butterfly lost its ability to fly and died before its time. It was unknown to the caring man that a caterpillar is naturally designed with essential fluids in its shell that make sticky wings of the newborn butterflies. The struggle to get through the small hole removes those viscous fluids from the body and wings, and the butterfly gets free to fly. Struggle and obstacles make it capable. Such examples are vast where difficulties, challenges, and impediments can serve as the catalysts to grow with higher abilities. Indeed, nature has designed every living being to pass through hardship for the purpose of better survivability. Wellbeings and opportunities are often disguised in challenges.
Great leaders feel spirited while facing challenges and resistance on the way. They take the fights and struggles as mundane affairs of the leadership journey. They believe the capacity to face challenges can create champions. People who have not overcome contests and hurdles in their lives or careers end up being average, weak, and often spoiled. Offspring of highly successful people often end up with tragedies in careers because they do not have to get through enough challenges in their lives and works. Instead of persisting in the hard work of their ancestors, many of them spend their lives getting drunk and drugs. There are numerous examples of challenges and struggles in nature – the banana plant grows matured within a few months with not much struggle, but the teak takes long years to get the width like a banana plant. Teak faces frequent adverse natural effects over time, but the struggle to survive makes the teak stay strong, stable, and durable. The example is also valid in human life. Often, we find something obtained with less effort is likely to go away faster. Receiving something with sweat and blood always becomes respectable and lasts long. Hardship acts as the blessing to become steady and more capable.
Many of the successful people in history passed the time full of obstacles and challenges in their personal and professional lives. Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin, Steve Jobs was adopted, Homer was blind, Jhon Milton was a special child, Benjamin Franklin was labor in a soap factory, and Maxim Gorki was a shoemaker. All these people had strong willpower to face and turn down enormous challenges in their lives. As you aspire to become a leader, adjust your mental frame with assertiveness and turn challenges into opportunities. Take every hardship as an essential training course to enhance your capability; instead of thinking negatively, start from the positive outlook.
Eagle’s life is an important lesson for leaders. Eagle has the most extended lifespan among birds. It can live near to 70 years. But, to reach that age, the eagle has to pass through a deadly challenge. The eagle’s long and sharp claws become blunt at the age near to 40 years and can no longer hunt for food. Its long and fierce beak gets bent over time. Its thick feathers get sticky to its chest, making the wings heavy to fly. At this point, the eagle has left with only two options; conquer the challenge of the painful course of transformation or die. The transformation process lasts nearly five months. It requires the eagle to fly to a highland top and knocks its beak against some rock until it can pluck it out. Then the eagle needs to wait for the new beak to grow back, after which it plucks out its own talons. When new nails grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers. Winning this brutal contest of pain and challenge creates the opportunity to survive and live for 30 more years in eagle’s life. We also have to accept challenges and win the contest of pain, uncertainty, and life adversaries to survive and succeed. We need to accept hardship to reach greater heights in life and our career.
Every problem comes with a new opportunity for you to enhance your capacity. Think, what will make you outstanding if there is no challenge? In life, not everything will go according to your plan, nor will everything turn out a success. A winner knows, success always accompanies a thousand failures. Every time you fail, dust off yourself and move ahead. Your courage to embrace challenges will surely make you an effective leader.