Every success story is riddled with trials and tragedy. Our ability to overcome these obstacles is what makes them so appealing. From small startups disrupting industry giants to a small platoon battling a massive army, there are moments that test our character and build our resolve.
When it seems like there’s nowhere to go is when the fiercest battles take place in our mind, body, and spirit. The ones who triumph are forever remembered and depicted as heroes while those who fail are often forgotten.
So, what’s the difference between these people?
Well, it’s not their position, stature or even wealth. The determining factor that separates the great and the not-so-great is their grit and determination. In one word, it’s perseverance.
This is the quality that keeps us moving forward in a sea of adversity. It’s what pushes us to keep fighting against the current and overcome tidal waves of doubt. We batten down the hatches and weather the storm knowing that it will soon pass and we’ll be better after it.
It’s sticking to the plan when most have walked away — working alone, without pay, and without recognition. It’s this quality that makes us bend, but not break. We face our fears in defiance of the odds, shattering the barriers of reality, pushing the limits of what’s possible and reaching new horizons.
Either placed in these situations by choice or by circumstance, this is when we shine the brightest. This ability to hold ourselves to a different standard and not settling for mediocrity is what makes us stronger. Forever striving for success, we know that failure is not a permanent condition, but just a temporary inconvenience.
Our ability to recognize that nothing worth having comes easy is what encourages us to take a risk. It is what forces us to show up and perform every single day without any loss of enthusiasm.
A Tale Of Turning Trials Into Triumphs
The crew of the Essex knows this quality all too well. When placed between a rock and a hard place, they chose to rise to the occasion. This incredible true story of perseverance and fighting spirit is the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
The Essex was a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts piloted by Captain Pollard and his 20 men in the 1800’s. During their whaling expedition, the ship was rammed by a whale which caused it to sink.
This left Captain Pollard and the crew fending for their lives on three small rescue boats, hundreds of miles away from civilization with no land in sight. With little provisions, much of the Essex crew did what they could to fight off starvation and dehydration. Sadly, much of the crew perished due to these abysmal conditions. Despite this, the survivors did not lose hope.
In such a dire situation, most would succumb to the circumstances. Captain Pollard, however, kept his resolve and encouraged his men. After weeks at sea, the remaining survivors eventually resorted to cannibalism and doing everything necessary to fight off death.
Surviving long enough for a passing ship to rescue them, the survivors were found delirious, starved and a shadow of their former selves. Eventually, the surviving crew members were able to return to Nantucket, where they tried to forget the horrors of the ocean.
Fighting seemingly insurmountable odds is why the Essex survivors will forever be remembered. Their courage and ability to endure the agony of hopelessness are qualities that are admirable and something we should all strive for.
Luckily, we rarely face life and death circumstances. But, many times we are too easily discouraged at the first sign of resistance- unable to say no, stand up, and do what is necessary for the face of adversity. We must learn to channel our inner survivor and fight off these obstacles with the tenacity of a prize fighter.
To do otherwise would be selling ourselves short and conforming to the reality that society has placed on us. Rather than living on our knees, let’s die on our feet knowing that, at the end of the day, we gave life everything we had. Leaving no stone unturned, forever pushing past our comfort zones.
We must realize that life is a bold adventure and to take advantage of it, we must keep moving forward. Let’s make the commitment to strengthen our resolve because if we never quit, there’s no way we’ll fail. And that is exactly how you start turning trials into triumph.