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Your Adversities Are Your Advantages

Winston Churchill was born into a noble family at the turn of the 20th century. His mother was an American and this led to him being considered "less" of a noble by his peers and their parents. While of noble decent on his father's side, he was far from a trust fund baby because his family was often living "paycheck to paycheck". His parents did not have time for him and he was raised by a variety of nannies and boarding schools. Young Churchill was often ill and unable to compete in sports as a result. He was also labeled as being "learning disabled" which led to his receiving less than stellar grades further creating division with his father. He ultimately failed out of his high school and never made it to college.

Young Winston certainly had many reasons to take pity on himself as some might have considered him uneducated, anti-social and unloved. However, it was these particular set backs which provided hum the fuel to grow into the history changing leader who single handily saved western civilization from world tyranny. As the old saying goes, Winston turned "lemons into lemonade".

Like young Winston, most young people who are raised in the United States are extremely privileged. Most have a roof over their head, they are not wondering where their next meal is coming from and, if ill or injured, have access to first world medical care. In most ways, the opportunities youth have today in America far exceed those of young Winston. While he was afforded many privileges in his day, those privileges pale in comparison to what even the poorest among us have access to today. So, count yourself blessed!

This is not to diminish other adversities. Single parent families at an all time high, prevalent drug and substance dependency along with high incarceration rates, out of wedlock births and a high abortion rate are just a few of the adversities facing young people. There will never be a lack of adversity and there will always be inequality as to those who are affected. No matter the difficulties placed in your path they should become the fuel to your success. As a matter of fact, they are necessary for your success.

As athletes, we are all familiar with how to build muscle. One must first tear the muscle, put it under enormous amounts of strain so that through the healing process it gets stronger. One does not get stronger without the aforementioned adversity. The same is true with all other aspects of life. If you want to get better, you need to risk failure and risking failure you will fail. These failures are what allow us to grow. We learn from our mistakes both on and off the field of play. I often tell my players that if you are not living on the edge (risking failure) then you are taking up space. If you want to be a better athlete then embrace the adversity. Learn to call it "Good". Make it the catalyst for achievement and you will find yourself on higher ground.


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