Challenges Make You Better

March 26, 2018 0 Comments

Every Challenge Is An Opportunity for Greatness

By Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD

If you were to ask every successful person you know about their personal best moment of their lives, the results would undoubtedly surprise you. All of the personal best moments would have one thing in common: they would all occur in a time of challenge, adversity or hardship. The reason behind the pattern is simple. We humans only test our abilities to the fullest when going through a difficult time. An obstacle can bring out the hidden leader, decision maker, or warrior in a person. And that is why the topic of today’s article is “Every challenge is an opportunity for greatness.”

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most talented people today who discovered themselves during a time of hardship. Ludvig Van Beethoven, one of the greatest music composers in history, and an idol to every budding pianist in our world. Challenge plagued Beethoven’s life from early childhood. It is said that the reason Beethoven began to learn the piano so vigorously was so that his strict father would stop beating him and his mother. Beethoven brought a fresh outlook on traditional piano music and produced his best work during the last fifteen years of his life--These were the years after he became completely deaf.

Furious and frustrated at the challenge of his disability, Beethoven began to produce music greater than any of his previous works. He is a prime example of how a challenge can push a man to cross boundaries no one has crossed before.

Speaking of boundaries, who hasn’t heard of the (late) and greatest contemporary scientist on our planet, Dr. Stephen Hawking? He was a physicist, a cosmologist and an author. He was also a victim of neuro-muscular disease and fought his condition for several decades. Dr. Hawking did not let his life stop at the advent of a new challenge, instead he rose up to meet it. He once stated in this famous quote:
“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining. ”

His books A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell were runway bestsellers and all written in the time after his paralysis.

When promoted or praised we gain momentum and motivation, but it is under hardship that our mind and body are truly tested of their capacity to fight. When seeking out new employees to hire in an interview, employers always ask themselves, will this man/woman be able to challenge the way we are running things? Will he/she make an everlasting change and impact to push our company further? Challenges and leaders come in the same package you see. It is always those people who have overcome hardship, who end up leading the pack.

Step out of your comfort zone and do something which you have never done before. Take the risk, the challenge and rise to it. The feeling in the end when you have tried and succeeded will be unlike any other you have experienced before. And if you fail? Congratulations! You are now ten times stronger than you were before. Every failure is one step closer to making things better. Seize an opportunity for greatness now and soon you shall see where it leads you.

Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a tenured professor of management, diversity and leadership lecturer/trainer and the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work and the new Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer has a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.