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In what ways has adversity helped our world become a better place?

Many extraordinary people have come out and brought interesting insights to our world. The old phrase, "maybe things happen for a reason" comes to mind here. If someone had never come across a misfortune then what they brought into the world wouldn’t be part of our history. I believe Horace’s quote because there is so much one needs to think about. The only reason why we have Google is because somebody had a dream about it. It all depends on how we look at our misfortunes, either in a positive or a negative way.

In what ways has adversity helped our world become a better place? Adversity is a different way at looking at the world. Everyone lives their life differently from one another. Looking at our misfortunes in a positive way is better because it actually gets us thinking. We need to think of ways to make our situation better and not dwell on our misfortunes. That is never the conclusion. Giving up is the easy way out, because you never know, help will come the second you give up.

The first person who comes to mind is Helen Keller. What would her life have been like if she weren’t blind and deaf? Keller would have been just another woman during her time. Her story is very captivating, but what everyone thinks about first is the misfortune of her disability. She became blind and deaf at the young age of two after a sudden illness. She was a very active child, running around and being able to talk at only six months old. She became an American author, a political activist and a lecturer thanks to her teacher, Anne Sullivan. I don’t believe she would have been any of these hadn’t it been for her disability. Like all women during the time period she was born in, her ideas would have been silenced and she wouldn’t have been remembered. Her misfortune helped her become the woman we all know today.

And then, the most famous Stephen Hawking. Even before his disability came around he was becoming well known for all his theories. But here is an important question as discussed by Alex Taylor, "Had [Hawking] been disabled from birth, it is very doubtful he would have been given the same opportunity to establish himself." [Taylor] His ability to overcome his disability inspires others to recognise this figure. Either way, Hawking would still be famous because his theories were being recognised. But, he is mainly recognised for coming a long way with his disability. He can’t move and he speaks through a robotic machine.

In an article written by Bryan Golden he makes an excellent point that adversity teaches us, "When an undesirable incident occurs, you want to avoid the pitfall of the past and become mined in the world of, could of, or should of trap. It’s done and over. Adversity is overcome by moving forward." [Golden] Pay close attention to these two words; "trap, move forward." Life tests our faith, strength, confidence and leave you in darkness, but you can overcome this obstacle and face your fears in adversity.

I’d like to put one of my own life examples into this. I have a learning disability which makes me learn different from others. I have a slower way of grasping what I’m being taught and sometimes can’t understand as quick as my peers. When my high school years were coming to an end, my teachers and parents all sat around a table for one of those conferences. Everyone was telling me, that with my learning style, maybe community college was a better option for me. I didn’t want to believe them. By working harder and persisting in my education I was able to improve my grades and be accepted into the college of my dreams.

I don’t care if I have a disability because it makes me unique. Would my life be very different had I not been held back in kindergarten? Most likely, yes. Some people may perceive having a disability as a misfortune, but it only depends on the way you look at. I like to look at life in a positive way because so many things can happen. I never expected to get into Endicott College, become a member of the theater, participate in the shows, and have so many great opportunities that are coming my way.

Adversity is all based on a person’s response. Stephen Hawking didn’t respond to the possible fact that he may die in two years time with depression. He kept going no matter what, publishing his theories, getting married and having a family, and giving talks to an audience filled with so many people even when he can no longer physically talk. But,Helen Keller responded negatively. How would she gotten through life without Anne Sullivan? Her teacher did help her, however Keller found the determination to overcome adversity. Hawking deserved the help he needed, but wasn’t spoiled. He knew what was happening to him. Keller didn’t because she was still a child. Could her parent’s have helped her better? Yes, they could have spoiled her less and gotten her someone like Anne Sullivan a lot sooner.

A great example of one who went against adversity is Charles Muntz from the Pixar movie UP. Charles Muntz spent his life hunting for a bird while letting life slip past his fingers. He was trapped in the shadows of his mind and lost track of who he was. He wasn’t brave enough to move on. People like this want to prove themselves to everyone who think that they’re wrong. Muntz lost so much trying to prove this little thing. UP is a great example of what can happen to people if they don’t accept the values of life and move on from the past.

Different disasters happen in our world each day. From the 2004 Tsunami, the sinking of ships, or every day deaths, our world feels very unfair. Life is testing us to see how much we can handle all at once. We should not grieve over anything for too long. Shark attack survivor, Bethany Hamilton didn’t do that. Hamilton has gone on to do so many powerful things and continues to surf. I admire her ability to pick herself up so quickly like she can after her accident. Many would fear going back into the water, but she didn’t want to give up her passion. She went on to deliver many inspirational talks saying, “Whatever your situation might be, set your mind to whatever you want to do and put a good attitude in it and believe that you can succeed.” It’s all based on attitude.

To end my essay is a quote by Walt Disney who once said, ‘“Around here, however, we don’t look backward for so long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Horace’s quote about adversity really spoke to me because it is something that I never thought about. Our world would lay in a catastrophic state if we didn’t do anything. Adversity is all about taking a chance to learn about who you are and to find where your confidence lies. Life is testing you, even as a kid. Live your life to the fullest and stay out from the shadows. Adversity is about where you can take yourself either mentally or physically.


Stephen Hawking by Alex Taylor, January 14, 2015

Dare to Live Without Limits by Bryan Golden, 2002-2015

Your Personal Best: Bethany Hamilton is Back on Board, January 2, 2010


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