Struggle Power: Why Hardship MUST Be Part of Your 'Life Design'



"Where we find difficulty we may always expect that a discovery awaits us." - C.S. Lewis



Do you know what this is?




It’s the symbol for electrical resistance. Move electricity through just about any object, and the object will resist the flow of the electricity. If there’s enough resistance, the object may even get hot or glow (which is how induction stoves and old-school light bulbs work).


And this is a resistor:


Join The Resistance.

Electrical engineers use resistors within electrical circuits to get the right amount of power where it’s needed, which improves the quality of life for people.


People flourishing because of resistance.


Of course, it’s not just electricity that encounters resistance. Sometimes we experience resistance as we move through life. We have different words for this: ‘hardship', 'struggle', etc.


We tend to view hardship as undesirable and as something that happens to us.


True.


Sort of.



Hardship is both undesirable AND desirable


While hardship is unpleasant, sometimes downright terrible, it also has the potential to be an incredible source of significance, satisfaction, and strength for us! I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), so I’m on a restrictive diet. When the disease flares up, it's really demoralizing. The diet sucks too. It’s inconvenient, and I don’t get to drink beer. Yet, paradoxically, this struggle of mine is also awesome. By having to say NO to many foods, I've become more disciplined in general (more strength). On top of that, my family has rediscovered gardening, and we get to spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen together (more satisfaction). Maybe best of all, my wife's love for me is made even more palpable in her walking this road with me (more significance).


People flourishing because of resistance!



We can unlock the benefits of hardship, whether we've chosen the hardship or not


Sure, oftentimes we’ve got to go through hardship we didn’t sign up for, but even when we're just plopped into an unwanted, hard situation, we still control our perspective on the hardship. As we've learned from Frodo and Sam, a shift in how we think about serious struggle can itself be the key that unlocks deep meaning.


Moreover there are also entire categories of massively-beneficial voluntary hardship. For example, choose to forgo the 'convenience' of your car and walk to lunch, and you’ll be rewarded:

  • Your body will get stronger

  • Your wallet will get fatter