Powered by Adversity

Turn Adversity into an Advantage



Jim Wadsworth

Founder of PBA

When I think of turning adversity into an advantage I visualize in my minds eye a surfer maneuvering the surfboard on top of a powerful wave in a spectacular show of agility and skill while a stunned crowd looks on in awe and wonder. To me it's a fitting illustration of rising above difficulty in spite of all the obstacles. And not just rising above them, but to the amazement of others, skillfully maneuvering in such a way as to move forward in life and turn a seeming defeat into a wonderful victory. Let me give a couple real life examples of what I'm talking about.
Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack as a young teen. She could have let that tragedy flood her with discouragement and smash her ambition to become a professional surfer—but she didn't. Instead, inspired by her faith, she took control of her life, and now, because of her courage and determination she's not only an award-winning surfer, but also the subject of the Hollywood movie " Soul Surfer " encouraging countless millions with her story.
Michael Oher from the movie " The Blind Side " grew up homeless and surrounded by drugs, violence, and crime. But he didn't let that crush his dream of playing pro football. Like Bethany, his determination kept him above wave after wave of difficulty, and eventually those difficulties helped to carry him forward to his destination.
And there are many more similar stories, though not as well known. Lori Schneider recently became the first person with MS to scale Mount Everest. Ernie Franz's life was changed for the better after being severely injured when struck on his bicycle by a speeding motorist. Abdi Dhuhulow discovered his passion because of an amputation. And Hilary Lister set out for the high seas despite being quadriplegic. My personal story includes a struggle since 2000 with a chronic illness known as CFIDS , not to mention the many hardships I faced while working overseas as a volunteer for 26 years.
There are many stories like these of individuals overcoming when the odds were against them. For me, this a compelling reason to rise above my own difficulties and to keep moving forward. As a young adult I wasn't so keenly aware of the hidden benefits to adversity. However, a turning point came when it dawned on me just how many people there are who, by taking control of their growing waves of troubles, have succeeded in turning them into opportunities that propelled their lives forward.
Realizing this has also played a part in inspiring me to put this website together. Here's a quick overview of what's in it:
 # Quotes .
 # Poems .
 # Movie list .
 # Videos .
 # Articles .
 # Personal reflections .
Adversity is a part of life. There's just no escaping it. But I've found that how I react to it can make a big difference in the outcome. If I look at the waves and focus only on the negative I begin to flounder. It's when I change my focus and see each wave as power to move me forward to my destination that I gain the courage to make the effort to rise above and begin to discover how to master that power. And to me, this is the core of how the journey unfolds for those who truly want to live a life that's “Powered by Adversity.”
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