The Benefits of Extreme Hardship

When we’ve experienced extreme hardships or life challenges, lighter hardships come to feel comfortable. Chad, a former Navy Seal, said the overnight camping at the Acton Games (a sort of boot camp for MBA students) was the most comfortable he’s ever been while sleeping outside, despite not having a sleeping bag, tent, or other niceties.

His comment reminded me of how I’ve crashed businesses, lost everything (including my house), gone bankrupt, experienced deteriorating health, lost friendships, and ended a long-term romantic relationship…all at once in my early 30s. And yet I made it through. After that period, most challenges don’t feel so difficult, and my bad days don’t feel so tough. Now I know what worst-case scenarios feel like (i.e. not too bad in a country like the U.S.), and I know it won’t mean the end of the world if I fail again. I’m grateful for Chad’s reminder.

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