On Adversity, Suffering, and Being Awesome

The adversity you are facing is always stronger the closer you are to true Greatness. To buckle under adversity is not dishonorable, and will bring sympathy and commiseration from those around you; but to face it, embracing everything that choice entails, and then succeed… That’s when your life begins to become Legendary. That’s when you start to inspire others to embrace their own Greatness. The stronger the adversity, the more inspiring your story will be – IF you face it, and overcome it. That choice and only that choice is the difference between an Epic, Legendary life and an ordinary one – and it’s NEVER too late to choose.

And being on that path is almost entirely about one’s attitude. Everyone – EVERYONE – is going to face some kind of adversity, although what constitutes adversity to one may not to another. Everyone’s tolerance and mileage varies.

Suffering is simply a response to circumstances (usually adversity), but is only one response of many possible responses – and in many, many cases, suffering is a CHOICE.

Some people face a great adversity, the kind that might crush another person, with a wink and a smile, while others seem to be able to find reason to suffer in the midst of lives of apparent ease and prosperity. It’s the attitude of the former that leads to a seemingly effortless life. All struggle is resistance to circumstance; accepting that some circumstances are unavoidable is living in the flow of your purpose. Choosing to pursue change is living in the flow of your purpose. Believing that you are meant to succeed instead of suffer is living in the flow of your purpose.

When you can identify your purpose, and and devote yourself to that purpose, your living becomes effortless. If your purpose is to overcome suffering, then you are letting the adversity you face dictate your attitude, and everything you do becomes resistance.

I wrote this post while laying in bed waiting for an emergency chiropractic appointment. Two days ago, I dislocated my left heel, which is exactly as painful as you might imagine. A lot of people would have posted multiple times about how painful it was (apparent suffering) and how the injury was interfering with the other stuff they wanted to be doing (real suffering caused by resistance) and there would have been lots of sympathy and commiseration, but not a lot of inspiration. I chose to spend that time trading notes with my editor and writing a post about finding your path to Greatness in the pursuit of a Legendary, Epic life. I’m writing this now having had my ankle put back in place, leg up on the desk covered in capzascin patches, and trying to make the point that this is an example of adversity, but not really one of suffering. Did it hurt? You bet. Did I wish it hadn’t happened? Sure. Was it important or significant to my Grand Design? Not really, no. Because it had NOTHING to do with my purpose. It existed to be overcome, and nothing more.

Suffering is what takes effort – but being Awesome? Effortless. 😉


About caveo

James has written and illustrated six books in the bestselling series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: Here, There Be Dragons; The Search For The Red Dragon; The Indigo King; The Shadow Dragons; The Dragon’s Apprentice; and The Dragons of Winter. The series is now being published in more than twenty languages. A seventh volume, The First Dragon, will conclude the series in November 2013.


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