I was talking to an older friend, about his life and the experience he has gained through the years.
As a child, I had the idea that life gives us experience through different events and that every old person was wise and experienced in all areas of life.
I always thought that someone who had been on this planet for many decades had been able to gather all the knowledge in the world, but that idea began to fade as I grew up and had to work with many old people.
My friend who has been on this Earth for a little more of 8 decades, was amazed with my concepts and told me that experience and strength were not dependent of the age but on endurance.
“You can see a person who has always lived surrounded by luxury, servants and almost no worries and when that person has to go out in the world or suddenly they see themselves on their own, they have no knowledge whatsoever on how to survive by their own means.” He said.
“But you can see teenagers who after losing their parents have to find a way to get food for their siblings, and are forced to work and survive in harsh circumstances. But when you talk to them, they have the maturity and experience of an old person.”
“We need adversity in order to learn and grow. That is the only way we learn.”
Probably we are taught to dread adversity, or maybe it is more comfortable to live without problems, but as many great teachers have always said: “We need to learn to feel comfortable with our discomfort.”
I remember that when I received the black belt for the first time, I felt I had reached the top of the world. But when I went to my first international martial arts tournament, when I said I was a 1rst Dan (first degree for a black belt) everybody laughed at me and called me a “rookie.”
I was disconcerted but after my first combats I understood why they were all laughing at me. They had years of experience in those tournaments and had learn every knack there was. Needless to say, I got disqualified and I was taught a good lesson on humbleness the hard way.
Same happened when finishing my career, once you finish school you think you know everything, but once you have to be out there where practicality is the key, the theory becomes obsolete very soon and your everyday experience becomes your main teacher.
Do not be afraid to be exposed to failure, to problems and challenges. They are there because you are more than capable to overcome them and learn from them.
They are the foundation stones of your life experience and therefore of your personal growth as well.