"What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Well, while that’s not quite true, we all get the idea. That’s also the premise of Nassim Taleb’s book ‘Antifragile’ which talks about how various stress on different systems (from the human body to the financial markets) actually benefit from temporary stress because it allows them to develop great resilience and long-term strength. For example, going to the gym to put your body under temporary stress will ‘weaken’ your muscles for the day but strengthen them overall. Dealing with challenging new situations in work is often stressful, but prepares us for doing that in the future.
You already know all of this right? Maybe so, but remember the next time that you’re struggling with a difficult person or situation that it’s actually the best thing for you. It makes you stronger, it improves you as a person, as a professional. It forces you to have more flexibility in your skills, attitudes and behaviours, it increases your breath of experience.
Personally, I had a difficult situation to deal with recently, and professional I have challenging situations every week. Rather than wishing they both went away and stopped bothering me, I found this philosophy of openly embracing them allowed me to grow and deal with them. The result was the situations resolved themselves in an elegant manner and now I feel better prepared to deal with similar occurrences in the future.
For more on this type of thinking, which in my opinion is endlessly valuable, please see Ryan Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way”. Again, if you’re like me you probably think you understand everything from the title itself, but trust me - it’s worth a read.