Life and Career Coach Sarah Corday

Adversity: A Gift that Doesn’t Feel Like One

In 1996, Tom Brady arrived in Ann Arbor as a seventh-string quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines.

Described by NFL scouts as “skinny” and having a “poor build” and a player who “lacks a really strong arm,” he was the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. 30 teams passed on him.

And yet, in February of 2021, Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, the only player in history to do so.

How did this skinny kid from California who was routinely passed up by coaches and scouts end up becoming a world champion?

One word: Adversity.


Personally, I don’t believe “everything happens for a reason.” Or that tragedy befalls us solely so that we can “learn what we’re made of.”

I do, however, believe that adversity- or difficulty in life – is a tremendous gift. Why?

Because during all our years living on this planet, it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll face obstacles. And often, we’ll endure hardships and setbacks that are completely out of our control.

But interestingly, it seems like those who face the most obstacles in life also find the greatest success.

Why is this?

Because facing obstacles and getting told “no” has taught these people how to persevere. Having dealt with criticism and failed attempts, they don’t give up when they face a setback. They’re not blindsided when new difficulties arise. In fact, they expect them. As a result, they develop endurance and resilience that trains them to overcome any obstacle. And because of all this adversity, they become stronger.

Are you facing a setback in life right now? Have you, despite your best efforts, met with a trial or problem that’s completely out of your control?

Then you, my friend, are fortunate. You’ve been handed one of life’s big gifts that seems like the opposite of a gift.

Because by facing adversity, you’re being given the opportunity to dig deep inside yourself and discover hidden strengths you didn’t know you had.


A year after being drafted to the New England Patriots, Brady famously told owner Robert Kraft, “I’m the best decision this organization has ever made. You’ll never regret picking me.” After years of adversity, Brady had developed an almost super-human ability to succeed.

So don’t give up. Sail the rough seas, navigate through the storms. When you come out on the other side, the hard part will be behind you. What’s more, you’ll be ever more aware of how strong you truly are.


What’s helped you overcome adversity? Comment below!


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