As we approach the end of 2019, these last months of the year are an excellent time to reflect—to think about all of the ups, downs, highs, lows, victories, losses, experiences, and memories from this past year.
It’s a lot of fun to reflect on and show gratitude for all of the amazing victories, biggest wins of the year, and awesome moments spent with loved ones. But it is equally important to take a step back and reflect on the hardships that you have been through and the struggles you are currently dealing with.
Winning is an incredible thing, but success does not teach you as much as failure does. You don’t learn as many lessons from accomplishments as you do from the hardships.
So as we plunge forward into this new year, this is an important time to reflect back on the losses, heartbreaks, downswings, failures, struggles, and hardships that you went through in 2019.
This hardship will be the key to taking your life to the next level in 2020. These setbacks and everything you’ve gained from them will be your stepping-stones to your greatness.
The Following are Four Reasons Why Your Hardship Will Take You to the Next Level in 2020
As you read this post, make sure to break out a pen and pad and jot down some ideas after you read each section. As the new year approaches, you can start to put these ideas into action.
It Will Show You What Doesn’t Work!
We’ve all had moments, situations, tragedies, disasters, and living nightmares where things just went completely wrong.
Bad days. Bad weeks. Bad months. Bad years.
We’ve all had them before. But here’s the silver lining that will help you climb to the next level in 2020: falling flat on your face, stumbling into a disaster, and watching everything go wrong in your life is the only way to realize what doesn’t work!
High achievers and legends like Denzel Washington and Phil Knight (the founder of Nike) often use the phrase “Fail Forward.” Failing Forward means using your mistakes as stepping stones to propel yourself in the right direction. Failing Forward means using your setbacks and rejections opportunities to shine a light on what’s not working so you can make course-corrections, learn from the past, and avoid making those mistakes ever again.
The only way to Fail Forward—the best way to learn what doesn’t work—is by going through hardship.
Struggling with your job or getting fired teaches you what career options are not compatible with you. Getting dumped teaches you what kinds of boyfriends or girlfriends to stay away from. Losing money teaches you what kinds of investment mistakes to avoid. Taking the dead-end route shows you how to get back on to the right path.
Hardship is a huge blessing because it teaches you what paths NOT to take!
So as we plunge forward into 2020, keep in mind that all of the hardships you are struggling with at the moment are going to be the stepping-stones that illuminate your path forward into prosperity and success—by showing you what doesn’t work.
If you couldn’t get to the gym consistently this year, learn from your mistakes. Try going to sleep with your workout clothes on or take your gym bag to work with you to help eliminate your resistance. If you struggled with waking up early enough to work on your passion this year, try doing your passion-work in the evenings instead. If you didn’t manage to read any self-development books in 2019, try reading just 5 pages per day in 2020. Break the work up into small chunks. Just 5 pages per day can add up to roughly one full book per month!
If you suffered from an injury that hurt your ability to play sports or do physical activity, try using the discipline, work ethic, and drive you learned from sports to succeed in other areas like business. If you attempted to quit drinking or smoking in 2019 and couldn’t manage to stay sober, reflect back on everything that you did wrong the first time around. Make a list of every mistake you made the first time and use that information as motivation to pick sobriety back up and try it again.
In the end, you will realize that there are no true failures in life. Only lessons.
If something did not work out the first time around, Fail Forward. Use what you learned to come back stronger in 2020.
Your Hardship Will Show What Your Flaws Are
Every single one of us has flaws. No human is perfect.
Everybody makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. Everyone has negative tendencies, addictions, selfish behaviours, egotistical mentalities, areas that need improvement, and aspects of life where we struggle.
That’s why hardship is so crucial, important, and valuable. Without that suffering, we would never be able to figure out what our flaws are.
Many people go through their lives oblivious and unaware of what their weaknesses are. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. Maybe they are subconsciously trying to avoid confronting their flaws. For whatever reason, lots of people fail to come to terms with, understand, confront, and overcome their weaknesses.
Without any self-awareness of what your flaws are, you will never be able to improve your life, overcome your obstacles, and grow as a person. So you have to fail, struggle, and deal with pain. Because that pain illuminates the weak areas that you need to confront.
It is only through hardship, failure, embarrassment, humiliation, disaster, tragedy, heartbreak, and heartaches that you can truly pinpoint the areas where you need to improve. Even though it’s hard, identifying weakness is a crucial stepping-stone to moving your life in an upward direction.
Admitting that you aren’t good at something, that you have selfish tendencies, or that you have limitations in some areas can be painful, upsetting, and embarrassing. But in order for you to climb to a higher level in 2020, you are going to need to identify your flaws.
Create a strong sense of self-awareness. Try to take an objective look at yourself. Pinpoint your weaknesses.
Because believe it or not, understanding and embracing your flaws will lead you to more growth, success, relationships, prosperity, and well-being. There are a couple of different ways that embracing your flaws can make you stronger.
Once you know what your weak points are, you can try to avoid projects in the areas where you struggle. You can hire people who are talented in all the categories where you stumble and who are strong where you are weak. And in your personal life, you can strive to create relationships with people who make up for all the qualities you lack.
And if you have negative tendencies that are hurting your relationships with the people who are closest to you—such as pushing people away, not communicating enough, blaming others for your mistakes, failing to appreciate them enough, failing to commit, or spending too much time on the phone when you’re with others—simply knowing about these flaws is the first and most important step to overcoming them. Use your awareness of these mistakes to minimize them as much as possible.
The best option for dealing with your flaws might actually be to work on them until they become your greatest strengths. This is not an easy way to handle it. But make no mistake, the human mind is capable of almost anything. Aside from things that are physically impossible or highly doubtful like learning to sing like Mariah Carey or learning to play basketball like Lebron James, you can learn, improve, get better, make progress, and turn your weaknesses into strengths.
A lot of the most accomplished people actually started off terrible in the areas where they wound up succeeding on a massive level. There are many world-famous motivational speakers like David Goggins, Les Brown, or Lisa Nichols who are introverts or who started out with severe setbacks, struggles, and learning disabilities that made public speaking seem like an impossible task.
Ed Mylett is one of the most sought after speakers in the world. But when he first tried public speaking, he was so nervous that he blanked out, didn’t know what to say, and couldn’t follow through with the speech. In fact, Ed was so nervous during that speech, that his vision became blurry and he couldn’t even read his notes.
But Ed never gave up. He kept at it. He turned the horrible nervousness into an impactful speaking career that inspires people around the world.
For Ed and those speakers listed above, it was never obvious that they were destined for success. Public speaking was initially a painful flaw, hardship, and struggle for them. But through practice, work, and determination they turned their flaws into accomplishments.
With dedication and practice, you can do the same.
Were there any hardships that you struggled with in 2019 that exposed some flaws or weak points that you need to work on?
Write a list of all of your biggest flaws. And right next to each flaw, write down what you are going to do to convert it into a strength.
2020 is your opportunity to embrace those weaknesses and use them as fuel to take your life to the next level.
It Will Bring Out Your Best Character Traits
The best human qualities—character-traits like compassion, resiliency, determination, relentlessness, bravery, courage, tenacity, resourcefulness, and creativity—usually only reveal themselves through pain.
Think about your best qualities right now. Are you a really caring and compassionate person? Are you a phenomenal friend always looking out for others? Are you super-determined? Are you extremely creative?
Now think back to when that compassion, bravery, or creativity first started to show itself.
For most, if not all of you, I’m sure your best qualities as a human showed up when you went through some kind of hardship—when you had a really tough year academically in school or college, when you got bullied in high school, when you broke up with your significant other, when you lost a loved one, when you got rejected, when you went through a career setback, when you were fired, or when you came down with illness.
The greatest human qualities tend to show up when we are going through the worst pain of our lives, during the moments when we need them the most. Times of comfort, ease, and laid-back-living don’t bring out our courage, bravery, determination, compassion, or creativity. Only the hard times can do that.
Even though it sucks, hardship is necessary because it brings out the best in us.
So as we move forward into the new year, spend some time reflecting on all of the positive qualities that your lowest moments have revealed this year. These are all character traits that are going to help you make 2020 one of your best years yet.
Hardship Will Thicken Your Skin
Have you ever had a sales job?
I have worked several jobs in sales over the years. And I can tell you firsthand, nothing thickens your skin better than selling. Selling makes you tougher, less sensitive, and more determined because it’s painful.
Being a salesperson is one of the hardest, most difficult, and most challenging jobs in the world. Believe me. It’s brutal. I used to go door-to-door selling people on the idea of sponsoring underprivileged kids in developing countries.
99% of the people I spoke to told me no. That’s the case in any sales job. Most of the people you talk to are going to tell you no. You have to work your way through all of those rejections just to get a few victories.
Dealing with that rejection and pain in sales and in life thickens your skin. That hardship of receiving lots of “nos” makes it more and more difficult for someone to hurt your feelings, get in your head, destroy your confidence, or break your happiness.
Rejections, failures, setbacks, losses, break-ups, pain, tragedies, and hardship, in general, thicken your skin. They show you that you are not weak, insecure, fragile, or easily broken. You are stronger than you ever thought you were. And nothing will break you.
So one of the best silver linings of your hardship is the chance to develop a thicker skin. Now that you’ve been told no, got rejected, got sent home, and dealt with a loss, you are going to walk into 2020 with an unstoppable sense of determination that cannot be shaken.
Read Also: 10 Things to Stop Expecting from Others
The Next Level is Waiting For You in 2020
When you’re going through a downswing, it’s easy to beat yourself up for your mistakes, lose hope, lose optimism, and lose faith. Going through pain can easily become a justification to give up on getting to the next level. If you feel stuck, you might even fall under the impression that there is no next level and the place where you are is all there is.
It happens to all of us. I’ve definitely been there before. No human is exempt from those down moments.
But no matter who you are or where you come from, there is the next level. You can and will improve, get better, get stronger, love harder, make more connections, and accomplish the things you once thought were impossible.
And your hardships are the key to making that happen. Your hardships will show you what doesn’t work, reveal what your flaws are, bring out the best in you, and thicken your skin. If you look for the clues in your struggles, they will guide you to a better and more exciting life.
As I said hardship is a much better and more powerful teacher than success. There is more wisdom to be gained in a failure versus a win. If you can use the lessons you’ve learned this year as stepping stones for progress, there’s no limit to what you’ll do in 2020.
Author: Bo Muchoki