Life is always going to find ways to test your resolve. It’s reminiscent of Murphy’s Law, which essentially states that “what can go wrong, will go wrong.”
When things go wrong in life, they tend to go wrong all at once. Very rarely are you forced to deal with just one problem, it’s usually a cascade of problems that all hit at the same time.
There’s nothing you can do to change this, it’s just how life works. And while it feels cruel, there is a world in which you grow through what you go through and emerge victorious.
In this article, we’re going to cover several ways that you can make the most of your struggles and come out of them stronger.
Because there’s always a reason for your pain. You might not know what it is quite yet, but there’s always growth to be found in the struggle.
So let’s dive into some actionable tips for unlocking that growth and using adversity to fuel a better version of you.
7 Tips To Grow Through What You Go Through
Before we get started, I want to share a Steve Harvey quote that captures the essence of growing through what you go through.
“You need dirt on you to develop. Because dirt ain’t just dirt. Dirt is fertilizer. Dirt is nutrients. Dirt gives you the strength for your seed to push through…show me something that has grown into something beautiful that didn’t have any dirt on it.”
Harvey’s message here is that if you wanna grow into the best version of yourself, you’ll have to deal with life throwing some dirt on you.
That dirt may come in many forms — getting laid off from your job, going through a divorce, enduring a catastrophic failure with your business, suffering the loss of a loved one, etc.
Whatever dirt is being thrown on you right now, understand that it’s there for a reason. It’s not there to break you, it’s there so that you can learn, grow, and evolve into a better you.
So with that said, let’s dive into seven ways you can grow through what you go through in life.
#1: Accept Responsibility
The first step in changing your circumstances is taking total accountability for them.
I don’t know what you’re struggling with right now, but I do know this — you’re probably doing something to make the problem worse.
Getting laid off from your job may not be your fault, but sitting on the couch and procrastinating isn’t gonna help you.
It may not be your fault that you lost a loved one, but drowning in self-pity all day long isn’t going to make things any better.
You may not be responsible for the behavior of a toxic friend, but you’re sure as hell responsible for continuing to give them second chances.
The bottom line is that at the source of any pain, there’s always something that you can do to make it better or worse.
You have control over which direction you go. But before you even get going, you need to admit that your current pain is a reflection of the choices you’ve made.
You need to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m not where I want to be because of me, and no one else.”
If you really want to grow through what you’re going through, start by admitting that you’re the problem.
If you don’t, there will always be something else to blame.
#2: Shift Your Mindset Around Stress
One of the most common mistakes that people make when enduring hard times is that they allow struggle to warp their perspective.
There was a study conducted by Stanford Assistant Professor Alia Crum, which looked at the impact of stress on people’s lives.
The research showed that viewing stress as a helpful part of life led to better health, improved well-being, and more productivity at work.
Meanwhile, those who viewed stress in a negative light were less happy, less healthy, and not as productive as those in the first group.
So what’s to learn from this study? Well, the first thing is that stress is linked to meaning and fulfillment.
In a 2013 national survey, adults were asked to rate how much they agreed with the following statement, “Taking all things together, I feel like my life is meaningful.”
Surprisingly, the participants who strongly agreed with this statement also reported the highest levels of stress in the areas that the researchers asked about.
So if you’re going through a period of discomfort in your life, don’t see this as something you need to run away from.
See it as the pathway to a meaningful life. See it as a way for you to emerge from the hole you’re in more confident and resilient than ever before.
This is how people who live meaningful lives view stress — not as a curse, but as a blessing.
#3: Reflect On What You’re Avoiding Every Day
One of the best ways to grow through what you go through is by taking stock of the situations you’re avoiding on a daily basis.
If you really think about your problems, you’ll realize that 90% of them could be solved by simply doing the things you don’t want to do.
If you’re unhappy with your social life, you’re probably avoiding the following situations:
- Attending social gatherings that you get invited to
- Getting into interactions with people you don’t know.
- Spending time in unfamiliar environments
If you’re unhappy with with the trajectory of your career, you’re probably avoiding the following situations:
- Attending seminars and workshops to level up your knowledge.
- Meeting with top performers in order to learn from them.
- Completing the high-priority items on your to-do list
At the core of your being, you have a smart intuition that knows exactly what you need to do to improve your situation.
But on the other side of the coin, you have a collection of automated behaviors (habits) that represent your current identity.
Any action that deviates from this identity creates internal resistance, leading to a tug of war between who you are and the person you want to be.
These moments come in different forms for everyone. For some of you, it’s the moment the alarm clock goes off.
For others, it’s the moment right after you feel the urge to go to the gym. Or maybe it’s the moment you hesitate before diving into your daily tasks.
Whatever it is you’re avoiding on a daily basis, understand that if you keep running from these situations, you’ll never grow through what you go through.
You’ll never become the person you want to become.
You don’t get to go through life only doing what you feel like doing. If you want to get through hard times, you must act on the world regardless of how you feel.
So I encourage you to take a few minutes right now and ask yourself this question — What am I running from on a daily basis?
Write down 2-3 situations that you tend to avoid, whether it’s out of stress, fear, uncertainty, or discomfort.
And once you have those written down, you now know exactly where your focus needs to be tomorrow and every day after that — diving headfirst into those painful, uncomfortable situations.
#4: Prioritize Small Wins & Build Upon Them
If you’re reading this article, my guess is that you’re going through something that’s preventing you from feeling like the best version of you.
Well, the only way to start climbing out of the hole you’re in is through incremental progress in the areas of your life causing you pain.
But given that you might be in a mental rut right now, you’re gonna need to lower the bar for what progress means.
Small progress isn’t small, it’s monumental. Because when you make progress, even in tiny ways, you experience natural motivation that pulls you towards the next levels of growth.
In fact, small wins are the foundation of many of the positive habits currently in place in my life.
- I started my habit of going to the gym by doing 10 pushups per day.
- I started my habit of talking to strangers each day by simply walking outside.
- I started my habit of writing 1,000 daily by starting with 50 words per day.
- I started my meditation habit by meditating for 30 seconds every morning.
All of these habits started with a tiny seed, a little burst of momentum that gently nudged me towards my ideal self.
So if you’re trying to grow as a person, don’t make the mistake of aiming for the stars.
Start tomorrow and commit to a target that you can realistically achieve, and then gradually raise the bar every day after that.
For example, let’s say that you really want to become more charismatic, but you’ve been wrestling with social anxiety:
- Tomorrow, your goal should be to simply walk outside.
- The day after that, raise the bar and make eye contact + nod at three people.
- The next day, up that number to 5-10 people.
- Then the following week, just say “hello” to five people per day.
- Once that feels comfortable, take things a step further and give out compliments to three people.
Before you know it, your level of social anxiety will come down, and you’ll be getting into full-on conversations with complete strangers.
All because you had the courage to set the bar low and start small.
Grow through what you go through not by aiming big, but by aiming small and stacking up tiny wins every single day. Eventually, those wins will compound and create an entirely different person.
#5: Turn Your Fears Into A Source Of Growth
One of the most common ways that we get stuck in life is by listening to fear.
Fear is a tricky thing to deal with. It’s an incredibly powerful and primal emotion that’s designed to protect you from danger.
On the other hand, it also tells you exactly what you need to do in order to fix your current situation. As Tony Robbins says, “What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.”
So what things are you afraid of right now? When do you feel anxiety and fear bubbling up in your day to day life?
If you take a moment to reflect on this, you’ll probably identify some key moments throughout the day where fear is preventing you from taking action.
And once you’ve identified those moments, your next move is to start attacking those fears on a daily basis.
Don’t try to eradicate all of your fears at once. Just start with the fear that’s holding you back the most, and apply the small wins principle above.
Gently stretch your comfort zone by doing something that makes you slightly afraid, which will prove that what you’re avoiding isn’t that scary.
Then stretch yourself a bit further the next day, and the next, and keep repeating that cycle until you’re finally comfortable with that fear.
Now that process might take you six weeks, or it might take you six months. But remember, the evolution of your character is a marathon, not a sprint.
So as long as you step into fear every day, even if it’s just a baby step, eventually they’ll start dying and you will start growing.
#6: Change Your Environment
Another one of the best ways to grow through what you go through is to alter your environment in a way that sets you up for success.
Environment shapes our behavior far more than we realize. Oftentimes, we engage in certain behaviors because our environment prompts them, not because we actually want to.
If you’re trying to live a more interesting life, but the people you hang around never want to do anything fun, then that’s gonna be an uphill battle.
If you wanna stop procrastinating, but you always work in front of your TV with your phone on, then it’s gonna be hard to focus for long periods of time.
Bottom line: Your environment should make it easy for you to get out of a rut, not harder.
The best thing about your environment is that it’s one of the few things you have complete control over.
So as you look at your life right now, think about how you can tilt the odds in your favor. Think about the small 1% alterations you can make to your environment that will facilitate forward progress.
Here’s a perfect example of a 1% alteration that helped my life.
A couple of months ago, I found myself in a bit of a rut. I had let myself slip and was waking up at wildly inconsistent times
I was starting each day on the backfoot with a lack of discipline, and this was rippling out into other areas of my life.
To combat this, I downloaded an alarm app to break my habit of hitting the snooze button.
The app forced me to take a picture of my front door before the alarm stopped beeping, meaning I had to physically get out of my bed.
It pretty much broke my habit of hitting snooze overnight. Once I was up, I just continued on with the rest of my morning routine.
See how that works? I didn’t need more discipline or willpower, I just needed to make a small adjustment to my environment.
(The app is called Alarmy by the way)
So think about your goals, and then think about the things in your external environment that are holding you back.
Then, start brainstorming various ways you can make things easier on yourself through environment design.
Because once you turn your external environment into an ally, it will be much easier to do what you need to overcome the struggles you’re facing.
#7: Realize That It Won’t Happen Overnight
Lastly, it’s important to gain perspective when you’re trying to fight your way through tough times.
If you’re going to grow through what you go through, you can’t get down on yourself when progress doesn’t come as quickly as you’d like.
As you’re taking the right actions, the storm will pass eventually.
If you’re trying to redefine your body and get in shape, I don’t know exactly when you’ll get the body you want. But I do know that if you workout 3-4x a week, and eat the right foods, you will get the body you want eventually.
If you’re trying to improve your self-confidence, I can’t tell you exactly when everything will click for you. But I do know that if you consistently step outside of your comfort zone, eventually you’ll become a more confident person.
If you’re really committed to personal growth, the timeframe doesn’t matter.
When I started this blog, growth was painfully slow. After two years of writing and publishing every week, I was getting only 2,000 visitors every single month.
It’s been 8 months since I crossed that two year mark. Wanna know how many visitors this blog receives now?
Between 40,000-50,000 visitors every single month.
All I needed to do was wait for all of my efforts to compound before they made a tangible impact on my life.
So screw your timeline. If you’re serious about transforming your life, there’s no such thing as a timeline.
You’re either in this for the long haul, or you aren’t.
And if you just commit yourself to the daily regime of doing the things you don’t want to do, eventually you’ll experience personal growth in leaps and bounds.
FAQ’s About Growing Through What You Go Through
Who said grow through what you go through?
It’s actually unclear where the phrase “grow through what you go through” comes from.
There have been many influential people who have said this phrase to motivate others, such as actor Tyrese Gibson, who is usually the person that this quote is credited to.
But regardless of who said it, it’s a powerful phrase that encapsulates the key message that struggle is good for you.
What does it mean to go through what you go through?
Growing through what you go simply means that you let pain and adversity build your character instead of destroying it.
It boils down to being proactive as opposed to reactive. Instead of waiting for hard times to pass, you take decisive action because you know that’s where your growth lies.
You don’t grow if you only act when you’re happy, comfortable, or motivated. If you really want to live a fulfilling life, you need to face the hard stuff daily regardless of how you feel.
That’s how you turn struggle, stress, and pain into positive agents of change.
What’s the best way to go through what you go through?
The best way to go through what you go through is to take action, plain and simple.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Until you start taking action to fix the sources of pain in your life, they will continue to dominate your emotional state.
Now the actions required for personal growth will depend on your situation. However, in order for them to growth, they must be scary and uncomfortable
If you become the kind of person with a bias towards action even when things feel hard or scary, then you’re gonna win the battles life throws your way.
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