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QUESTION: Do you think that ease does not challenge us and that we need adversity to help us discover who we are?
The presupposition that adversity helps men and women to discover who they truly are is an unequivocal truth. Although some upholders of “the easy way out” believe that hardship is detrimental to one’s self esteem, these myopic advocates are too dogmatic in their provincial creeds. Three salient paradigms that exemplify the positives to adversity are John Sinclair, Oprah Winfrey, and Theodore Roosevelt.
John Sinclair, a 1970s African American activist, is a perfect example of hardship’s positives. Due to his race, Sinclair was imprisoned for possession of marijuana with no legal proof. Instead of taking the easy way out, an outraged Sinclair wrote to musician and fellow activist, John Lennon, for guidance. The powerful rock and roll star obliged to assist him by conducting rallies and recording songs to plea for his release. Weeks later, Sinclair was released from Michigan State Prison. Had he simply accepted his charges, Sinclair could still be serving his prison sentence. Instead, he stood up to adversity and was released shortly after.
Another sufficient paradigm that demonstrated the necessity of working had is the life of Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey was born into poverty and raised on welfare checks throughout her childhood. Along with this, she caved into the temptations of sex and drugs at the age of fourteen. At the age of sixteen, however, Winfrey met a school psychiatrist that passionately advised her to revise her reckless lifestyle. The teen’s open mind and hard-working demeanor led her to a classic “rags to riches” story. She studied broadcasting in college, developed a hit TV show in 1984, was named on the top fifty list for Forbes Magazine’s “Top 50 Most Generous Americans” list, and has even been name on Time Magazine’s “50 Most Influential Americans” list for eight years in a row. Without Winfrey’s sharp will power, her current fame would have been a mere dream.
Lastly, Theodore Roosevelt’s early nineteenth century American reforms prominently display the importance of adversity. Reaching the presidency in 1894, Roosevelt inherited a country with excessive monopolies, unsanitary meat, and dwindling natural resources. Preceding presidents, such as William Henry Harrison and William McKinley, were too aghast by the problems to do anything with them. The Progressive Rough Rider, however, began his work almost instantaneously. He developed a plan known as the “Square Deal” that limited big business power, formed the Meat Inspection Act of 1904, and created the National Park Commission to conserve trees, rivers, and forests. Without his endless dedication to his country, these revisions may have never taken place.
In summation, the notion that the easy way out is the best way to tackle problems is a misconception that often ends in failure. Sticking firm to adversity is the most appropriate way to solve humanity and society’s deepest problems.