For most of us our goal in life is to be comfortable. For instance, we want just enough money to be able to live a “comfortable life”.

We don’t necessarily seek the passion of fulfilling great visions, or the other extreme of apathy and despair. For many of us our lives are focused on securing an as comfortable and pain-free existence as possible.

However, painful situations do inevitably come in life, and whilst they are painful, they can bring a gift.

The gift is the gift of an opportunity. Nobody would rightfully seek to lose their job, be missed out for a promotion, have a poor performance review, and so on, but when it does happen, you have a choice.

You can succumb to the pain and allow it to drag you down into victim mode, leading to unproductive and even destructive behaviour.

Or, you can choose to use the pain of this situation as an opportunity to make change, to improve, to study, to find a mentor or coach, to cultivate new relationships or let go of toxic ones.

Most of us fear the uncertainty that change brings. If we had a guarantee that we would be able to achieve our goals and dreams without the risk of failure, we would all be living amazingly abundant lives.

However, because change is unpredictable and risky, we hold back, potentially missing out on the things we would really love to do, and becoming the people we really would love to be.

But what if that risk was removed? Would it then not be so much easier to make that change?

Unexpected change in life can effectively remove this risk. Admittedly, it replaces it with another risk, possibly even a greater one, but it is a risk that has upside potential.

To illustrate, we might hate our job or the career we are in, but we are too afraid to quite our job or seek a new career. If we are laid off, this risk is removed.

We cannot fear quitting our job when we don’t have one. There is now of course the greater risk that we are unemployed and not going to be earning any income, which has other implications.

The upside potential though, is that we are now free to apply for the job that we have been wanting to apply for, free to re-skill ourselves for a new career.

Although the above is a simplistic view on change and emotional pain, it does illustrate a fundamental point, which is that the pain of what we perceive as calamity can in fact herald an opportunity.

If approached with the correct attitude, this opportunity can lead to an outcome that you would not ordinarily and voluntarily have sought out yourself.

This is the gift that painful situations can bring, and which could aptly be expressed on a bumper sticker.


Author's Bio: 

Claude Warner coaches successful leaders to improve their leadership performance through developing their emotional, relational, social and communication skills.
He can be contacted on +27 (0)83 227 5153, or