Without Struggle There's No Growth

Conflict and Personal Growth

When looking around the world the media portrays conflict as this heart wrenching, diabolical Goliath that only seeks to twist and bend life into submission. Conflict is brutality and the worst of human beings. It is the loss and destruction of pieces of humanity that we hold sacred. Innocence, pleasure, happiness and comfort are lost within conflict with nothing to gain except...experience?

Now, before jumping deeper into this what does conflict mean to you? Is it wars, first fights or arguments? Is it seeing competition, inner turmoil or hard choices in life? 

Conflict can be classified in many ways but it is never something that we view as a positive. It is the darkness that lurks around every corner and the boogeyman that we try to keep at bay within our relationships and career. But my question to you is why? As you read, think about why conflict is scary or negative for you. When you find your answer I'm sure it will help you along your own path.

Conflict is needed. Period. Most of you will disagree with me but without conflict in life many things go undiscovered, unexplored and on a personal note we lose site of our potential. How can we ever know our limits intellectually, physically and emotionally when we are never challenged? I would dare say that it is next to impossible. We wouldn't. 

Let's start off on a grand scale one that is all too familiar but a little on the darker side. I don't condone the negatives of WWII, they are a black eye on the world and a lot of that hate still prevails around the globe today. But, on a smaller note, without that major world conflict we would have been slow to develop rocket technology, world flight, air pressure systems, clothing designs for all weather, instant food, mass production techniques, world cooperation (UN), ethics and codes for nations to abide by and to finalize all of this. The true horrors of what conflict looks like. Between WWI and WWII we stopped glamorizing war as this special ritual of man fighting for country and were forced to acknowledge what it truly was. Hell. Advances in science, medicine and technology all drastically took place during this time and, a personal favourite, Viktor Frankl used his experiences from the Concentration Camps to not only create and write about Logotherapy but I dare say without everything he faced, there might not have been advances in the field of psychology for some time.

I wanted to give you this brief example to realize that within every major conflict there is a good that arises, whether the cost is worth it, we can never be sure. If we take the idea of conflict and bring it down to a personal level I dare say that it would lead to out right boredom, apathy and sloth not only as a person but as a society. If we never need to struggle or earn anything what is the use of bettering ourselves? If, for example, I never had to go through the frustration of baking a pie because the first attempt was near perfect would I really appreciate mastering that skill, creating it and then eating it? No, it would feel dulled, more of a gray than colour. The crust not as crisp, the cinnamon and sugar not as sweet and at the end of the process would I care to do it again? 

I throw these random examples all together to highlight a piece of life we often take for granted because it never comes during times of joy or happiness. Never during peace or love and especially when are filled with hope and confidence. This only comes when we have hit rock bottom. When frustration, jealousy, longing, foreboding and grudges come the surface. When we are made to feel alone, unwanted or useless. That trapped feeling we face when things seem so bleak but not an ounce of light seems to fall our direction. These conflicts mould and shape us as humans. It gives us the tools to handle future issues, reflect and build new skills and understand what we are after in life when we take the time to ponder and think critically about ourselves an the world around us. These are the moments that tough truths come out about our behavior, our skill set and our mentality that drive us in life.

If there is no adversity, there is no growth. No growth means stagnation and in nature stagnation is death. Instead of living and being present we float through the world as a meat suit, consuming but never finding fulfillment or much joy. The mundane becomes the normal and the world begins to shift into the grey. Conflict, even in storytelling is what drives the story forward. If the protagonist never faces a conflict, of self, nature, others, technology, it would be quite boring to watch or follow along.

Imagine a movie, the main character is able to solve every issue they face no matter how big with ease and effort never overcoming anything. How dull and dreary, where is the climax? It would all feel moot and hollow to have all this build up for the character to instantly solve the issue without any struggle. Our human collective revels and admires strength, determination and overcoming obstacles. Some of the greatest stories ever told speak of problems that one must overcome over and over and over again. As they do, they learn and appreciate the world around them. They begin to see the world differently and understand that without their ambition and drive they would have never succeeded. We love underdog stories and the ability to cheer for the downtrodden, the loser. Why? It gives us hope and belief in something. Instead of watching the day tick by  it motivates us to build a better life, perform in our careers better and be a better person. It gives us strength to know we have survived worse and kept going.

When conflict is eliminated, where all our needs are taken care of and we never earn anything. Would that really be the optimal place for all of us to live? If we never worried again about anything we think we would be happy. I think we would become bored. Trying new things would be pointless, learning a lost art and interaction in our community would feel robotic. Love would not feel so deep and sweet without heartbreaks, longing and searching for our person. Our careers would seem pointless and the hobbies we enjoy would no longer be enjoyable. Frustration would creep in, apathy and a cold logical view would be our main looking glass.

Within our darkest times, we create some of our biggest growth. We need the conflict to feel alive to learn to feel human. By removing that or trying to remove that from our lives completely during our day to day we are removing our humanity, our purpose and our goals in life. We are choosing to say not to living and to subvert ourselves to existing.

To finish, without conflict our personal lives become meaningless, society as a whole becomes redundant and making the world a better place holds no significance. As terrible as conflict can be on a global scale on  personal level it allows us to interact and explore our world. To feel alive and to leave our own mark here before we leave. If conflict leaves there are no dreams to be had, nothing to push our comfort zone. Embrace the personal conflict, realize this is allowing you to write a story with telling and that without it you would not exist. It is needed for survival of all creatures but it is needed more so for human sanity and fulfillment. If we are capable of everything with zero failure than why should our endeavors matter? Even if you fail, you learn and grow resulting in better fortunes in different ventures and avenues. Wisdom only comes after we have failed. Embrace the conflict and be thankful for what has shaped your story.

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