Hidden Treasures

Paulo CoelhoSome years ago, after speaking at a conference, a young lady walked up to me and asked, “Must one go through pain to attain greatness?” I instinctively replied, “I don’t know anyone who didn’t”.

I’m currently reading Paulo Coelho’s authorized biography, A Warrior’s Life. He is now famous, but his journey was not easy; he suffered many things. Buried in all that pain was one of the greatest writers of our time who has sold over a 100million copies of his books. Someone once said, “Locked up in the mocked, is the made”.

Pain is a refiner. Like the fire that purifies gold, it helps identify what’s not working for you. This way you are able to identify areas of change and act accordingly. If well managed, the best of you emerges from pressure.

Except you derive some pleasure from it, I don’t think pain is fun. However, it’s functional. You’re gold and for you to be marketable, the process of refinement is necessary.

Time, heat and pressure makes a rough stone precious…and yes, it may not be fun, but it’s worth it.

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Bitter or Sweet

nick-vujicic-2011-1-30-6-40-10We all have a story. It’s usually a good mix of the good, bad and ugly. They say, “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. That may be true. For some, what does not kill them leaves them bitter.

Life is crazy.

Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs. Needless to say, his childhood was tough. His situation seemed impossible and he had every reason to be bitter. Fast forward…now he’s a renowned motivational speaker, author, father and married to a beautiful woman.

At some point, you have to choose who your experiences make you. Do you become an angry, bitter individual because you suffered a bad experience? Or do you become a sweeter person who nourishes and uplifts others in their times of pain? You choose.

Granted, assuming a positive position after a painful experience can be tough and could take some time; no doubt. I won’t be insensitive. Also, I know that staying bitter robs you and the world of the awesomeness of you.

As you wade through the hurt and complexities of the pain, firmly resolve to become a sweet soul; a fine breed.

Not You!

Malala Yousafzai Opens Birmingham LibraryGreat names usually have a crazy story to tell. From Oprah Winfrey to J.K Rowling, Tyler Perry, Malala Yousafzai…Albert Einstein, name it. They experienced a fair share of crap on their paths to greatness.

Naturally, there are times of doubt, but these guys decided that their pain would not determine their choices or define their existence. They forged on to ensure their dreams came to pass.

It’s easy to let an ordeal define you. It’s tougher not to let it. The courage to reinvent yourself often comes from a knowing that your worth is beyond bad news. The value of you remains after the dust has settled.

No matter what happens to you, boldly standing on the dust, you can firmly say in the words of the poet, Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”.

The soul is designed to rise above obstacles, pain and shame. It happened to you; it is not you. Pain is not your name.

When it Hurts

pain2Like you, I know pain.

It’s that sick, annoying feeling that drives you nuts; the place between insanity and agony. Varying in intensity, it’s the discomfort beyond discomfort…sometimes indescribable.

It eludes no one, even leaders. In a weird way, it’s an equalizer. The rich guy gone bankrupt suddenly understands how it feels to be penniless or vice versa. Interesting how good and bad can cause pain…like clean water making you sick just as much as dirty water.

Pain is intimate. What causes you pain, may affect me differently. In the same stroke, humanity agrees on what generally hurts.

Sadly or not, effective leaders come pain-ready. There’s a clear understanding that people are at different levels of growth and this difference makes pain inevitable.

They say paradise is painless; can’t wait to catch that ride. Meanwhile, I’ve got life to do and so do you. So flip the script and make pain work for you.