How Negative Experiences Can Be a Catalyst for Growth

In times of despair, it can be difficult to see beyond our current circumstances — or to see the opportunities that will act as a catalyst for growth.

When my Dad passed away, I wanted to curl up into a tiny ball and never emerge from my bed again. Every time I opened my eyes in the morning came the stark reminder that he was no longer there.

I threw myself back into my work so I didn’t have to think about anything else, and carried on with my life as it had been before — only without him in it.

But as time went on, it started to hit me.

I wasn’t happy. I had so many things I wanted to do — and now all of a sudden life was short. I started to think about what I truly wanted. And most importantly, I began to put that plan into action.

I think 2020 is a year where we can all say we’ve experienced something negative. But the key is that it doesn’t have to be a negatively defining moment for us. As cliché as it sounds, we can turn it into a positive.

Life is always about what we make it — we just don’t always want to see it that way.

Look for the message

Whenever something negative happens to us, one of our first thoughts might be ‘why me?’ or ‘why is this happening?’ We fail to slow down and take stock of the situation, and we’re filled with negative emotions.

In order to grow through the experience, we need to value it. Think instead, ‘what can this experience teach me?’ or ‘how can this experience shape me?’ Negative experiences are a chance for us to get better.

From distress comes drive

When we’re filled with sadness, all we want to do is feel some form of happiness again. We want to make things better for ourselves — and for other people. Yes, we may feel discomfort, but times of negativity can spark creativity and new ideas.

So instead of wallowing in self-pity and giving in, use your hardships to fuel your personal and professional goals.

With change comes opportunity

No matter how uncomfortable, there is always something valuable that can be derived out of difficulty, adversity, or change. If things remained the same, how would we learn? How would we grow? The answer to those questions is we wouldn’t.

If we’re not learning, we’re just standing still in life watching opportunities pass us by on a daily basis. The coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to step outside of our comfort zones and beyond. But if we switch our focus on the opportunities of a new path rather than the comfort of a worn trail, that’s where we’ll see the magic start to happen.

No matter how tough your life has been, or how tough your life might be now, you have the opportunity in this moment to change your direction and create the path you want to lead.

Don’t let outside circumstances define you and remember to make your own opportunities. After all, if life was easy, we’d never grow.

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