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Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life by Margie Warrell

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—Chapter 34—

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

The fact that these words by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche are so famous doesn't make them true. I'm sure you've encountered numerous people who have survived a hardship or heartache and haven't emerged from it stronger and better off, but weaker and worse off and very much a ‘victim' to their ‘lot in life'. This is why I believe Nietzsche got it wrong: it's not the hardship itself that makes us stronger, but rather how we choose — and yes, it is a choice — to respond to it. The good news is that the choice is entirely at your disposal.

My friend Michelle McQuaid, an expert in positive psychology, views the difficult hardships, hurdles and heartaches of our lives as gifts we never asked for and don't want, but something that we may as well make the most of. Approaching your shake-ups, break-ups and wake-ups with this mindset can make all the difference in the world to how well you handle them and how strong you emerge from them. As Greek philosopher Horace wrote, ‘Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant'.

Of course, it's all too easy to get pulled into our own little pity party when life doesn't go to plan. It's why many do. But by doing so you relinquish your power, surrender your freedom and confine your ability to shape, and improve, your future. ...

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