Adversity is a challenge, a challenge is an opportunity for development!
From birth, most parents believe they can shape and build a man in his totality. They think they can instil useful STEM(Science, Tech, English, and Math) skills. At the same time arming him with a set of guiding principles and rules to live by that will protect him from the harsh realities of the world.
They are naïve to believe so.
The reality is, society is evolving so fast, it used to be generation changes, now society changes year to year. Values and belief systems in the previous generation are a relic of the old ways, the world is accelerating towards a socialist, feminine primacy society. Traditional masculinity and game are ridiculed by this new society. For old men, young men, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles and friends alike it becomes harder to live by the ways of old. The methods that have seen us through the infancy of our existence, thousands of years of war, physical dominance and celebrated warrior societies. The protection of females and children, the courting, and charming of attractive women for securing the best offspring. These values and beliefs become meaningless as we continue into this new society. But it is our burden to bear.
Development begins here.
To understand this, I provide my interpretation of loss aversion, comfort and challenge and its role in our personal development.
Theory of Loss Aversion
In basic terms, the theory implies that a loss is psychologically more potent than a gain of equal value. The psychological effect of loss goes on to shape our future decision making. Where the gain of equal value does little to affect our future decision making. This can be framed as ‘loss is a challenge’ as ‘gain is a comfort.’
The individual who seeks comfort or has comfort has a made a choice. They choose to stop learning or developing. Once comfort is achieved, the incentive to learn is removed. The man who aims to have lots of money and gets it stops trying to earn money. The man who now owns a plush leather couch and air-conditioning makes excuses for not leaving his home. The man who is comfortable prohibits himself from chasing dreams.
This is the classic lion in the zoo scenario. The lion is well-fed and is alone in the enclosure, no need to hunt and free from threats. The lion lays on the ground and stretches like a lazy house cat and sleeps, sometimes opening his eyes to see the crowd behind the fence but shuts his eyes as they are no longer a threat. His genetic skills are degenerating as he has no reason to do anything anymore, he is comfortable.
This lion in the zoo is not recognisable to the lion in the wild. This wild lion must hunt ferociously for food daily. This lion is a killer who has mastered the hunt, capture, and art of the kill. Skills honed over a thousand days fighting for survival on the savannah. He has become the apex predator in his environment. He has developed!
Everyone who is great has had to overcome some form of adversity. Curtis McGrath, a four-time Paralympian champion, had his legs blown off in Afghanistan. Winston Churchill, in the face of a Nazi invasion of Britain, rallied an entire population to rise up and fight, to achieve victory no matter the cost.
The stories of being wounded in battle, yet finding the will to fight on. A nation being faced with annihilation both are psychologically overwhelming scenarios and is near impossible to contemplate survival at these points. Yet here we are, a world where a regime will never totally oppress the world at large again. Where a warrior spirit pushes to excel in other areas.
Challenge pushes us to new heights of skill and mastery, it forces adaption and propels us towards achievement and ultimate success! It provides us with goals and problems that need to be resolved. It calls on all our mental reserves, physical prowess and our unlimited potential to find ways of achieving these goals as well as solutions to our problems. Most importantly it provides us with adaption and lessons learned. This is the essence of personal development, being challenged to do great things and overcome adversity.
To develop, you need to be challenged. A life of comfort does nothing for you except allow you to degenerate. No great man ever had a contented life of luxury.
The development of men comes from being challenged.