When any misfortune occurs in someone else’s life, we often think of them as unfortunate ones. Unfortunate people are always perceived as victims. If you come from an economically weaker family or are raised by an abusive father, you are tagged as unfortunate. When you are suffering from incurable life-ending diseases, you are viewed as being unfortunate. Growing up as an orphan without knowing your parents or experiencing parental love and protection is considered unfortunate. Out of 24 candidates interviewed for a job, if 23 of them get selected but you then you tag yourself as an unfortunate being. There are a series of things that make us unfortunate beings.
Nevertheless, what one needs to keep in mind is that the things that happen to you don’t make you unfortunate, but how you deal with it, decides if you are fortunate or unfortunate.
There are many great personalities who we can use as examples to prove this. Elon Musk, one of the wealthiest persons in the world was once a poor child, the great Mohammad Ali fought with Parkinson’s disease for almost 32 years, Marilyn Monroe never knew her father, her mother suffered from recurring psychiatric problems that eventually saw her committed to an institution. With no parental support, she spent the majority of her childhood in a string of orphanages and foster homes, Jack Ma- the Chinese business magnate, co-founder of Alibaba Group was rejected by KFC where he was the only one not selected among the 24 candidates interviewed. The list goes on.
Unfortunate are not those who face misery or hardship, but who let those miseries dominate and then define their life.
If Elon Musk has not decided to come out of that situation then he would not have been where he is today. If Mohammad Ali had given up when the doctor gave up on him then the world would have never known the real fighter and an inspiration to many who are suffering in the same way. The list will never end of the people who changed the way we see failure. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”
These unfortunate incidents of their lives had taught them to fight and never give up. The misery of their life has made them acknowledge every small achievement. They used every possible opportunity to make themselves strong enough and capable to help others and work for mankind. The unfortunate incident worked as a fire behind the rocket inside them.
Misfortunes are the teachers of our life. We may not intentionally ask for it but we should welcome it, accept it, learn from it, instead of shying away.
Unless we know the bad we can never judge the good, unless we choose to take risks, we cannot taste success. Every suffering in life brings the joy of survival. In order to find yourself, you have to give due respect to the incidents that shape you.
As the saying goes, “we are not the product of our circumstances but the product of our choices,” life is built by many essential parts and one of them is suffering, there’s no escape from it. The only thing that matters is how we choose to deal with our sufferings.
We can choose to blame it all on others or we can choose to take the matter into our hands. No one has the power or right to hold us back. We are the masters of our fate. When life knocks us down, we can choose to give up or we can choose to start all over again. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we are strong and our dreams are bigger than our failures. The right choices we make have the potential to dictate the outcome of our plan.
Let me share an anecdote with you. I was born in a lower-middle-class family. I was in class 4 when I found that my father had a choice to make, either food on the table today or next month of schooling.
I have no idea how I continued to go to school but one thing I couldn’t understand as a kid was, why was it such a big deal for us when it was so normal for others to have both? Those early days are still fresh in my mind and have played a major role in helping me take charge of my own life.
When most of my classmates were looking for a vacation spot, I was looking for a way to get into one of the most expensive schools in town. I wanted to afford the lifestyle. I wanted to include myself in the elites. I did not want to decide between food and education anymore. I wanted to have both. For this, I knew I had to fight.
I had a choice to make, either give up or don’t rest until I find a way. I decided to make use of my biggest asset to date; my knowledge. I started tutoring. I invested all my efforts into excelling at teaching and soon money followed excellence. I became one of the most reputed and identified teachers in town. Even though I couldn’t earn enough to get into the school all by myself, I loved every single bit of that journey. That was the first time I proved myself and earned my way from zero to one. One unfortunate incident of childhood later proved to be a milestone in my life. I has evolved and progressed throughout my journey. I realized that it is the choice we make that define our life and not our circumstances.
I can talk about a series of unfortunate incidents from my first heartbreak to my first career failure and I can prove that every unfortunate incident was followed by something very fortunate; that changed my whole perspective toward life. Now every time I look back, I doubt that I would have ever got the chance to make the choices I made if I wasn’t fortunate enough to be unfortunate.