There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter difficulties of all kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith develops endurance. And endurance, when it has had its full effect on you, will make you complete, so that you lack nothing (RPV*).” Regardless of your spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof), the message is clear: the only path to a fulfilled life is right through the middle of difficulty. The path to happiness lies not in avoiding problems, but in milking every challenge of life for each lesson you can. The sultry vixen of old black and white movies, Mae West, was notorious for her (then) scandalous lines like, “When I’m good, I’m really good. And when I’m bad, I’m better.” By modern standards, such lines are comical, not shameful. But that same line could be your life situation talking to you… when I’m good, I’m really good, and when I’m bad, I’m better!
To me, the key to a happy life is this: when times are good, rejoice that they are good; when times are bad, rejoice that you are learning lessons and building endurance that you could never experience in good times. Grasping this simple fact will revolutionize your attitude!
In Torino, Italy, the Winter Olympic Games have just ended. Each athlete that stood on the podium to receive a Gold Medal got there not by avoiding difficulties, but by welcoming a great challenge into their lives. They deliberately hired coaches who would drive them to and beyond the point of exhaustion. They risked and experienced injuries and accidents. Many took embarrassing and perilous falls in front of millions of spectators. But each competitor there, whether a glorious success or an ignominious failure, is a better person because of it. Are you taking on great challenges in your own life? If you succeed, it will be good for you. But if you fail, it will be even better! So rejoice!