I’ve developed a theory about hard times in the past few years, and it goes like this:
Human beings NEED hard times, and if we aren’t given them through circumstances, we will always find a way to create them for ourselves.
We need times of great difficulty throughout our lives in exactly the same way that we need the physical developmental stages as we’re babies and small children, like learning to pull ourselves up and walk, for example. That process places load-bearing stress on our bodies so our bones develop properly. All the struggling only increases the strength and encourages perfect alignment and functioning.
We all know the story- the person who has it all, the wealth and opportunities, the good looks, the raw talent, you name it. And what do they do with it? Not always, and hopefully not forever, but almost invariably- they WASTE it! They will go through years of wrestling with the same problem, over and over- being an addict, or fat and unhappy, or in trouble with the law, or perpetually broke.
While another person with the most horrific circumstances you and I could ever imagine creates a life so successful and inspiring, a life most of us will only ever dream about having.
We need the tough times. We need them like we need air to breathe, and I do believe that subconsciously we will do anything in order to ensure that we get them.
Without any real challenges in your life, challenges that tear at your soul, and force you to fight hard for something, and cause you to question the very fabric of your existence, you have no opportunity to grow, and know your strength.You have no reason to. When I say opportunity, I mean it! The normal, comfortable,” things are ok” times in life aren’t usually those times that bring out the warrior in you, are they? When everything’s maybe not perfect, but pretty allright, you’re not doing things you’d never normally do, you’re not acting in ways that others might call unreasonable, you’re not fueled with passion because you’re in the shit and you’ve got to get out! No- when life is easy, and you’re accustomed to it, you start to put your tiny little power into bullshit stuff, like caring what the neighbors think, for example!
It is only in going through the hard times- and most importantly,coming out the other side!-that we grow in precisely the ways we need to. We start operating from a higher level of confidence, strength, courage, graciousness …as our new normal state of being. This provides us with everything we need to move forward even more, to accomplish those things that once seemed absolutely too difficult or beyond us. To do what we came here to do, fulfill our destinies, if you will.
Take a look at these two people, keeping in mind my theory. First, Oprah. She has reached levels of success and fulfillment and contribution in her life that very few people ever do. She was given the circumstances of truly hard times from the get-go: poverty, sexual abuse, racism, no family support, just to name a few! She could have lived out that story for her whole life, but because she got through to the other side she became the unstoppable force the whole world knows her as today. The qualities she developed in order to claim victory over her circumstances were what made it possible for her to be who she is now.
And now look at another one of my favorite people-Robert Downey Jr. While I don’t claim to be privy to his family and social life growing up, even if it wasn’t all rosy, there’s no comparison to the suffering that Oprah went through. He was born a wealthy white male, in America, to famous parents,with every opportunity he could ask for right from the start. You probably remember the many, many years of wasting time that he put in. Wasting his talents, physical health, relationships. And that made life very hard for him, after a while. As a matter of fact, at one point, the hard times became intolerable to him. We know him know as the highest paid actor in Hollywood, the hardest worker, a man blessed to have found love, and dedicated to his family. The best of the best in many ways.
It was the horror of those hard times, and winning out over them, that propelled him to his success. No-one will dispute that his hard times were self imposed, I’m sure. I’ll take it a step further and say it again. My theory. We need times of immense struggle. They are necessary for our full development as human beings. Without them we are deprived of the opportunity to know just what we are really capable of. DEPRIVED of it.
One way or another, born into them, forced to create them on your own, led and guided to them- it is the nature of life to make sure you are tested with the hard times. What will you choose to do with the opportunity the next time it comes your way?
Speaking of this in terms of human needs makes me think of Tony Robbins and his idea of the 6 human needs-why we do what we do. The link is to a video of his from his podcast. It’s fascinating stuff, and if you’ve never really taken the time to listen to him-you’re missing out. Another of my absolute all time favorite people on the planet, for sure.
Have a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEwpisUYWG0