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John O’Leary shares five gifts that can be found during struggle.surprising gifts of struggle

Heart-ache from isolation and not belonging.Intense grief in the wake of loved ones dying due to accidents, illness and suicide. Great tension from financial insecurity. Destruction of our family home to fire. Twice. Total loss of physical health. Absolute lack of confidence, extreme self-doubt, uncertainty about the future. Daily physical pain.

This is a partial list of struggles I’ve endured at different phases in my life. Partial!

None of us ever seek struggle, yet the truth is it will appear along our journey. It will be incredibly painful and is certain to derail you from where you thought you were going.

And yet.

Adversity can serve as a great teacher.

It can serve as a great teacher, offer insight, and propel you forward in a direction you never fathomed possible. [Share on Facebook.] | [Tweet this.] So, next time you are going through challenge (and for many of us, that is today), remember to look out for these 5 surprising gifts gifts gained through adversity:

  1. Slowing down from “the race” of life and remembering who we are and what actually matters. In our hyper-competitive and uber-busy world, misfortunes force us to pause long enough to consider the reason we are alive, the impact we can make, and what real success actually means.
  2. Prompting us to know we cannot work, or play, or live, or lead, or impact, or love by ourselves. In the midst of crisis we often realize we are stronger than we thought, yet we also feel with certainty that we are intended for community.
  3. Igniting within us the critical characteristics of perspective, patience, passion, empathy, gratitude, acceptance and faith. These traits that matter most on the journey can be diminutive when life goes perfectly as planned, but are fanned into flame during seasons of adversity.
  4. Owning the parts of life we can control and letting go of the stuff we can’t. Our personal trials remind us of how little control we have on many issues that brother us and also of the limitless capacity we have to own our thoughts, prayers, beliefs, words and next steps as we continue the journey forward.
  5. Living with heightened compassion and gratitude rather than narrowed disappointment and cynicism. Let’s face it, when we’re let down in life, it becomes easy to be jaded. But in the aftermath of a trial, our egos are lessoned, our connections to others intensified, our gratitude expanded, and the movement of our lives poignantly seeking something greater than ourselves.

Check out this podcast episode with Michele Cushatt to get tips on how to thrive through adversity.

[In my most recent Live Inspired Podcast episode I interviewed Michele Cushatt who is a reluctant expert on trauma, pain + the deep need for authentic connection. As a 3-time cancer survivor, parent and author, Michele embraces us with warmth and transparency and reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles. Hear our inspirational and important conversation here.] 

My friends, adversity is like a strong wind.

It will most certainly tear away from us everything that can be torn. Yet, it will also leave the things that matter most… reminding us who we really are.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

This article was originally published on #1 National Bestselling Author of ON FIRE and Inspirational Speaker John O’Leary’s Monday Motivation blog. John inspires the R.L. Thomas Service, Inc. and we’re honored to share his inspiration with you! Get his Monday Motivation in your inbox here and enjoy his daily inspiration on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.


You can see all of John’s Monday Motivation posts here:


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21021Ventura Blvd., 215                        9655 Granite Ridge Road, 200 
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