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Finding Strength and Merit in Adversity… “What Doesn’t Kill Us.”

This week’s #readinglist post is about a book that explores how we can grow and thrive through adversity.

Although the author, in my opinion, is inconsistent in the production of worthwhile material, Scott Carney’s book “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is a very interesting read.

Relating and recounting the stories of many who have, thorough adopting specific aspects of or related to the Wim Hof Method, healed and recovered from life altering injuries and challenges, it was one of the first books I read when first exploring the Wim Hof Method, which I now teach.

Get your copy or audible download here:

The topic of adversity has arisen for me on a couple of occasions in the recent weeks.

Firstly, I am currently staying, alone, in our little cottage in Sicily…renovating the cottage and my repairing my heart…so to speak. I love people, but I need time, from time to time, by myself to put back into the right places the pieces of my heart I offer up in the work I do and how I choose to live…

On this little retreat of solitude I started out walking everywhere. We are about 3-4km outside a lovely historical town and, every 2 days or so, I was walking into town for some grocery and hardware shopping and walking back, laden with an extra 10-20kg, depending on the day. The walk into town was down a mountain side so…the walk back was up said mountainside…laden backpack and a grocery bag in each hand…

Not easy. So “not easy”, in fact, that I could literally hear my heart beating as I trudged the last 400m up the dirt track that is our driveway…in a manner of speaking…

Tough. Loading the body like I have not (been able to) for a long time. With no other choice, and having consciously chosen to do this this way, pushing through with calm mind was the only way to get home.

Within days my body responded. Energy levels started to rise, muscles I still have, but do not use much, kicked back into action and grew strong again. My mind settled and my heart became quieter on that last uphill…WITHIN DAYS!! 

Let’s cap the talk about growing and thriving, because that was it…recounting more of the same is unnecessary.

Let’s talk merit and reward…en route into and out of town on these walks I made 2 new friends. Local dogs. First one, then the other overcame their habitual need to bark at anyone that walked past and came to enjoy a 5 minute scratch and cuddle each way…Without human company at the house, these little connections became important…vey important.

In week 2 of my stay, by some miracle of human kindness, I was given (yes given) a scooter. A brilliant  machine that, to cut a long story short, took away the need for those walks at the “turn of a key”.

I felt it almost immediately. I missed the dogs. My body started to stiffen as I was (am still) doing hard manual labour, but stopped giving myself the simple load bearing mobility the walks offered.

I had to introduce exercise…to replace the functional use of my body that was no longer needed due to the scooter.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that scooter and am incredibly grateful for it…, but the growth in strength and the reward fro the interaction with those 2 cool dogs (they are Sicilian after all…) was gone. Until I consciously put it back into my days.

I still use the scooter for grocery runs and such, but I now walk each day half way down the mountain to spend some time with my friends…and then walk home again…running the last 400m up the side of my little bit of mountain…

So, you may ask; “What does this have to do with Scott’s book?”

Simply this. Adversity makes us stronger if we choose to engage in it. It is very easy and, most often we are not conscious of this, to make choices that remove adversity from our lives. Sometimes through the miracle of technology. Most often simply through inertia, habit or subconscious resistance to “tough stuff”.

As we remove the adversity, so too do we remove the growth, thriving and merit that makes life truly meaningful and worthwhile.

I said adversity, as a topic, had arisen twice….the second time was a conversation wit ha dear friend about this very topic and how we all (generalisation) , but specifically the younger and next generation of adults to hold custody of our world have not faced true adversity, yet we sorely need it and need to face into it willingly.

So. Read Scott’s book. It won’t kill you and…might very well make you stronger.

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