When life is tough is when your opportunity for growth is the greatest. If you were to help a caterpillar during his struggle in the cocoon, he would never have the strength to develop into a beautiful butterfly. When a fish spends its life in a tank, being fed regularly, it doesn’t grow as strong as if it were fending for itself. It is only through strain that a muscle will develop. Irritate an oyster enough and it will produce a pearl. Put a lump of coal under enough pressure… you’ll end up with a diamond.

To develop substance as a human being, we must develop character, and character is best developed through experience, sometimes hard, bitter and difficult experience. Adversity is not something to be feared and avoided, but rather something to be welcomed, embraced, and overcome.

“I am not on this earth by chance. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth, I will apply all of my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”
---Og Mandino

At a life coaching workshop I attended, we were discussing “victim to victor” and a man stood up to tell his story. His story was how he went from “miserable to miracle”. About 6 years before, he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is a condition that causes muscle pain, weakness, and severe fatigue, along with many other symptoms. He went into a deep depression and lost all will to lead a productive life. He lost so much during this period…too much to go into here. After several years of misery, he stumbled upon the teachings of life coaching. He said “Once I learned the tools and perspectives and way of being, it returned me to joy and seeing the gifts life brought me. Every minute of every day I know I have the tools to coach myself, and I don’t have to rely on anyone else”. He went on to say “We all have complete control of how we receive and embrace the gifts. Instead of being a victim, I am empowered”. What can we learn from his motivational story? That change can come in an instant with a shift of perception. Happiness is easy and takes much less effort than misery or sadness. As soon as he learned how to perceive his world differently…his world was different. With a shift of perception, he went from “miserable to miracle”. I believe that he simply started asking himself the right questions….therefore receiving the right answers.

I’m reminded of a poem By William Earnest Henley:

"Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever Gods may be, for my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years, finds and shall find me unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul".

The name of this poem is "Invictus" which means unconquered. The essence of the message is that no matter what happens to you, you get to decide how you will respond. You get to decide what you will do tomorrow and the next day, and you get to choose your attitude. You decide what your goals will be and whether you will continue to move forward or give up. You are the master of your own fate.

Let me tell you about William Ernest Henley who wrote this poem. He loved writing but his family could only afford a second-rate school. At 12, he contracted tuberculosis which weakened and crippled his limbs. At 18, one foot had to be amputated. In spite if this, he vigorously worked and studied so he could reach his dream of being an author and poet. At the age of 24, just as his career was beginning, doctors told him that his other foot would need to be amputated. To avoid amputation, he traveled to Edinburgh where he was hospitalized for nearly 2 years undergoing radical new treatments. It was during these many, painful months in the hospital that he wrote "Invictus," which is a bold statement of his determination to overcome both his physical handicaps and depression.

When he was finally released from the hospital, he found work as an editor of a little-read magazine. Despite his setbacks, he continued to work and, little by little, his writings became well known. He became chief editor of the "National Observer" and used his career as an opportunity to help many up-and-coming authors. His unconquerable spirit drove him forward, undeterred by setbacks or challenges, until he lived his dream.

You too, are the master of your fate. You can decide, right now, what you want out of life. And, just like William Earnest Henley, you can overcome any challenges to achieve your dreams. Now is your chance to take control and steer your life in any direction that you choose. You decide ... it is up to you.

Sometimes you just need to shed the demands that you place on yourself…even the demands to be happy, and just put your life in perspective. When you feel like life, or someone, betrayed you, it may be time to just step aside, get impersonal, and ask “what am I supposed to learn from this?” Then just move forward, even if you don’t have the answers. I trust that you know the story of Helen Keller, who was a normal, healthy child until the age of 18 months when she got sick and became blind and deaf. Even with this adversity, she went on to be one of the 20th centuries leading humanitarians. She is a perfect example of learning to just accept what happens to you and move forward. Your spirit is a natural instrument of healing.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
---Helen Keller

Open up and just allow your life to happen. You never know when and where the next break will come…when the door will open and your life will be transformed. Believe in yourself and that you were given this gift of life for a purpose, and your struggles are simply the price that you must pay to achieve your personal greatness.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
---Napoleon Hill

Try this: When you say “Life is tough” imagine yourself surrounded by compassion and love. Take a deep breath and inhale slowly, see the healing white light of compassion and love come into you and go through every cell of your body, nourishing each cell with healing white light, and as you exhale, exhale out everything that you believe is causing you pain. Then inhale a deep breath of all that IS good in your life, and exhale out all that you feel is bad.

Just trust in the process of life. Don’t demand that it have so much in it before you love and trust it. Just begin where you need to begin in that process, and where you need to begin is right here and right now.

Author's Bio: 

Gary Rubin is a life coach, business consultant, entrepreneur, and sports club owner/operator in San Diego California. He has spent over 25 years committed to enhancing his own personal growth by spending countless hours researching, studying, and training in the fields of personal growth, psychology, and spiritual psychology. He has attained his certifications as a Professional Life Coach, Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, and a Master Practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index. As a business coach and consultant, he has successfully mentored and coached business owners, managers, and employees; resulting in greater productivity and profitability. As a life coach, he has worked with individuals, couples, and families, helping them to achieve personal growth, enhanced life satisfaction, conflict resolution, and emotional fitness.

After going through the personal growth process and experiencing the profound change of his own transformation, he has developed a deep seated passion to share the many benefits of what he has learned.

You will enjoy the journey towards your own transformation as you are drawn into his life experiences and coaching sessions, along with powerful information and pertinent quotes. Gary's book, Your Emotional Fitness, will be released soon. Gary can be reached at www.yourEmotionalFitness.com