Setting the Mood
• "You only live twice: Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face."
— Ian Fleming
• "If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together."
— African Proverb
• "There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy."
— Friedrich Nietzsche
• "If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you."
— Louis D. Brandeis
• "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Introducing the Author
Dr. Norman Rosenthal is the psychiatrist who first diagnosed seasonal affective disorder (SAD). He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School; his book Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation was a New York Times bestseller.
Three Kinds of Adversity
According to Rosenthal there are three kinds of adversity that can befall us: the kind that results from bad luck; the kind that we bring upon ourselves; and the kind that we seek out by taking a calculated risk.
Structure of the Book
The author has divided the book into four sections: Youth, Adulthood, Heroes, and Farewells. The 52 chapters each contain a story and the truth or lesson that can be taken away from it. We found this a helpful approach since for years we have included in the spiritual practice of teachers opening ourselves to the truths of life and death as conveyed to us by experiences of adversity, suffering, disappointment, and failure.
Lessons from The Gift of Adversity
• Make use of your memories since some of them are proof of your triumph over obstacles and setbacks.
• Understand the powerful impact of your personal history on your ability to cope with a sea of troubles.
• Accept adversity as a catalyst to creativity.
• Seek out help when dealing with pain and suffering.
• Learn from others who have walked the same road that you have.
• By embracing adversity, you can confront your fears.
• Recognize that although troubles come, they also move on.
• Use your disappointments as a spur to creating a better and more just world.