Adversity doesn’t build character insomuch as it reveals it

A friend of mine, M, was describing a conversation he’d just had with his legally blind sister-in-law. She’d just returned from a visit to her doctor where she’d learned that she has weeks… months if she’s lucky, left to live. Whilst discussing the news, his sister-in-law told M, “I feel so sorry for my doctor. I could tell that it was very hard for him to share the news with me.”

M, thanks for sharing your experience with me. Your sister-in-law is truly grace personified… a clear demonstration of how adversity doesn’t build character insomuch as it reveals it.


Success simplified; lessons learned down a hippo's throat. Speaker, Author, Coach who will parachute in when traditional solutions won’t get it done.

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  1. Wow, Paul, thanks for sharing this.  It truly makes me want to think about how I look at EVERYTHING!  I think I need to work on my GQ (Grace Quotient).  Thank you again.

  2. This is a powerful insight Paul. And I think you are right. Adversity is thrown upon us – and we have to react – and it does reveal the character that is already within us. Which would seem to indicate that character is revealed, not created. However, I wonder if there was a point before this where the character was created and built? Or are we born with a certain character that stays with us? Or do our experiences give us the many chances to learn how to adapt to our surroundings? Deep stuff. But either way you slice it, I want to have the blind lady’s obvious servant’s heart – that thinks more about others than herself – so much, that she worries about the doctor who has to give her bad news. Powerful example of the true motivational speaker‘s quest for truth.

  3. That is so beautiful it makes me get misty. Was on a plane yesterday and my seat mate is dealing with taking care of her severely injured husband after a motorcycle accident. She is almost a full-time nurse and yet still manages to work from home as well. I said, “Wow I don’t know how you do it. Not sure if I have your strength and energy.” She said, “I didn’t think I did, but I bet given the same circumstances you too would rise to the occasion.” I admired her and certainly felt grateful to the bone.

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