It’s been said that adversity causes some people to break and others to break records.
Author Keith McFarland spent seven years studying the performance of 7,000 companies, after which he made this pronouncement: “The top performers had one thing in common. Each went through a period of pronounced difficulty – often serious enough to threaten the firm’s existence.”
McFarland continued in The Breakthrough Company: “Great companies, I discovered, arise not from the absence of difficulty but from its vortex,” its whirly mass.
The key during tough times, according to McFarland, is not to focus on survival, but instead to ask fundamental questions, to face facts that might have gone overlooked in more prosperous times, and to identify and integrate the new knowledge and insights that adversity can bring.
Schools and school sports, today in the vortex of adversity, may actually do more than merely survive our present difficulties if we too examine obstacles and opportunities previously overlooked, and then make positive use of the lessons that sometimes only adversity can bring.
A Scottish author of the 19th century with the optimistic name Samuel Smiles wrote: “The very greatest things – great thoughts, discoveries, inventions – have usually been nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow, and at length established with difficulty.”