Adversity Introduces a Man to Himself

When you find yourself in the hole, there’s only one option, and that’s to dig yourself out. Every one of us I'm sure has found ourselves in the hole at some point in our life. Whatever it may be, illness or injury, anxiety or depression, out of a job, cut from a team, family problems, a break-up or death of a loved one. Life comes at us when we least expect it and all we can do is take things head on, learn, grow, and move forward. Life came at me while I was in college. Injuries, surgeries, chronic pain, a break-up, deaths, anxiety, depression...all on top of the stresses of being a student-athlete, working and trying to figure out my path in life. During my sophomore football season I blew out my knee, and I remember right before my surgery I posted a quote that said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” I posted this with absolutely no clue how much adversity it would create and that that adversity would truly shape my life. Life came at me and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned infinitely more from the adversity in college than I did from the successes. And I think that’s the optimism you have to have when you find yourself in the hole. When life hits, and when that adversity comes, welcome it, because it will be your greatest teacher. It will be a gut check and you’ll find out what you’re made of.

When Was the Last Time You Faced Life Full On?

Recently I’ve had a number of my close friends, former teammates, and classmates reach out to me and tell me that they’re struggling. They’re in the hole; depressed, anxious, injured, in debilitating pain, feeling lost in life. And though we may have different problems, I can relate and empathize with each of them, and if I could offer any insight from my personal experiences, here it is. First off I think it’s important to know there is beauty in the struggle and there are so many lessons to be learned. So do your best to open yourself up to those lessons along the way, and reflect on what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come. Another tool that I find to be really beneficial when shit hits the fan is changing your perspective. For me, a quick way to do that is saying to myself, “it could always be worse.” And holy shit isn’t that the truth. If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food on the table..that’s something to be grateful for, because the vast majority of the world does not. Telling myself those five words was always a perfect reset to simply be thankful. Gratitude is a powerful tool when times are tough. Finally, your current situation is only temporary. Put in the work, make the necessary changes, and trust the process. There will be a point when you’ll find yourself looking down into the hole, stronger and wiser than when you fell in. And by understanding that, you can take on the inevitable hardships and adversity going forward with confidence. Remember that life is full of peaks and valleys. And while we should live those peaks to the fullest, we should also embrace and appreciate the valleys just the same. The valleys challenge and strengthen our human spirit, they’re where we learn and grow the most, and they make us truly cherish the peaks.