What motivates a person to have a colonoscopy on national television? The answer is pain.
Pain gives birth to purpose.
“My husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer on Jan. 24, 1998. … Nine months after Jay was diagnosed, he collapsed on the powder room floor of our apartment. … He died on the way to the hospital.” (Katie Couric on TODAY.)
Tragedy shapes. Happiness affirms, but tragedy transforms.
The greatest tragedy is stuffing pain and ignoring the wisdom tragedy brings. Some are made bitter by heartache. Some are made better.
Tragedy guides. Heartache points the way. When you bury the struggle, you lose your way.
If you want to know what to do, serve others in ways that answer your adversity.
Tragedy inspires. Katie Couric co-founded Stand Up to Cancer because of loss.
The light of purpose is found by answering the darkness of tragedy.
Your greatest point of impact is the way you answer disappointment.
Tragedy softens. Those who suffer-well become kind. The pain of losing a job enables you to feel compassion for a neighbor who just got their pink slip, for example.
Answering your own struggle helps you make a difference in the world.
Tragedy expands. The answers you find for yourself become points of service to others.
Don’t trivialize pain by giving it purpose. Everyone navigates pain, distress, and adversity on their own terms and timeline. If you’re in the middle of a struggle and these words help, great. But most need distance from tragedy before finding benefit.
How might challenges, adversities, and tragedies shape leaders?
What are some of the lessons we learn in the dark?