This post is a part of Robert Hruzek’s Middle Zone Musings group writing project called “What I Learned From…”. This months’ topic is adversity, and here’s my contribution.

We are always told that adversity is something to be feared and avoided. But I disagree. I like adversity. If it wasn’t for adversity I wouldn’t be where I am today. If not for life’s hardships and misfortunes, even the small ones, things would probably be very different.

About 12 years ago, I rather suddenly made a career change. I quit my job of 7 years as a cable TV producer, weary from the stress and 90 hour weeks. I went back to school to learn about computers and multimedia. After 7 months of hard work, I was ready and eager to enter the workforce again, feeling confident in my skills, creating high-tech CD-ROMS. The only problem was, while I was busy learning Macromedia Director, the Internet was taking the world by storm. I graduated school with only 1 day of HTML coding under my belt, and quickly found out that in fact, it was web designers that employers wanted, not CD-ROM developers. Oops.

I could have given up. Some of my classmates did. I could have written a nasty letter to the college’s department head, telling them that they taught me the wrong skills. I could have gone back to the TV station and begged for my old job back.

Instead, I high tailed it down to the local bookstore and bought every book I could find on web design, HTML coding and graphic design. I spent the next 6 weeks, 8 hours a day, learning everything I could about creating and maintaining web sites. At the end of the 6 weeks I was an Internet whiz (by 1998 standards) and an expert in HTML, CSS and FTP.

No sooner did I finish my self-induced training, than I got a call from one of my former professors who didn’t teach me about the Internet in my 7 month course. She ran a technology training firm and told me they needed instructors. “To teach what?’, I asked. “Web Design”, she said.

Web design? I can do that!

I could have given up. I could have complained. I could have gone back to my old life. Instead, I looked adversity in the face and therein found the solution.

Adversity is going to happen, no matter what. That’s just life. So instead of fighting against it, or running away from it, perhaps try embracing it. You may just find the answers you’ve been seeking all along.