The Laws of Adversity By Joe Tye

Joe Tye - motivational speaker and authorBad things happen to good people. It’s not fair, but it’s true. Other than the fact that it was beautifully written, I think the reason Harold Kushner’s book struck such a chord (and was such a huge international bestseller) is that we can all relate to the title.

We’ve all seen it happen – to ourselves or to others (or all of the above). If life is a journey, then we all at some point pass through the valley of the shadow of death.

I’d like to share with you ten principles that I consider to be the Laws of Adversity. I hope that adversity doesn’t strike you this week, but if it does I hope that someday you’ll be able to look back and say that it was the best thing that every could have happened.

Law #1: Adversity is not optional; bad things do happen to good people. Fortunately, as Harold Kushner writes in his book of that title, “The ability to forgive and the ability to love are the weapons God has given us to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in this less-than-perfect world.”

Law #2: You might not be able to choose whether or not you pass through the valley of the shadow, but you do choose whether or not to take up permanent residence down there in the darkness.

Law #3: We learn and grow more from our setbacks than we do from our successes. Adversity prepares you for bigger challenges and accomplishments in the future.

Law #4: Surviving adversity is a great way to build self-confidence, and to give you a more positive perspective on future adversity (if we survived that we can survive anything!).

Law #5: Adversity helps prevent hubris, arrogance, and complacency.

Law #6: When things aren’t working, it forces you to look at more creative solutions. There is opportunity hidden in every single adversity if you have the strength and courage to search for it and to pursue it when you’ve found it.

Law #7: What you’ve fought to gain you’ll fight to keep and vice versa – easy come, easy go – but what you had to fight to gain you will fight doubly hard to retain.

Law #8: Without the valleys, you won’t appreciate the mountains.

Law #9: Adversity keeps teaching – it provides great stories for the grandchildren! Your setbacks can, if you’re committed to learning from them and teaching about them, be the source of great learning for others.

Law #10: Adversity is a quiet teacher; you have to probe carefully for its lessons.
Joe Tye is America’s Values Coach. He is also the author of several books and audio programs on personal, career, and business success, and a popular motivational speaker. Visit

Josh Hinds’ Commentary: I’m a big believer that adversity and challenges don’t occur simply to try and keep us from the good things in life. My own experiences have shown me that life’s challenges are in many cases opportunities through which we can grow and gain the skills necessary to attain a higher level of success then would likely have been possible without the skill set acquired from having overcome the given adversity.

The key is we have to be willing to work through whatever adversities come our way (and keep in mind the basic understanding that there’s a lesson in every challenge we’re faced with).

What’s your opinion? Do you have any experiences you would like to share where by overcoming or working through a challenge you found yourself better prepared as a result?

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