Adversity is the grindstone of life. Intended to polish you up, adversity also can grind you down. The impact and ultimate result depend on what you do with the difficulties that come your way. Consider the phenomenal achievements of people experiencing adversity. So many inspiring stories of extraordinary individuals who used adversity as a stepping stone to achieving their dreams in life.

Beethoven

Beethoven composed his greatest works after becoming deaf. It may sound impossible, but he did it. In adversity, Beethoven tapped into his inner light and heard beautiful compositions, that he penned into a great masterpiece. His Symphony 5 has become treasured as a classic that has been played over and over again in most concerts across the globe.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh wrote the History of the World during thirteen-year imprisonment. He had every reason to be discouraged in the face of great adversity, but Walter Raleigh motivated himself and help create a piece of history from his long years of traveling.

Christopher Columbus

If Columbus had turned back, no one could have blamed him, considering the constant adversity he endured. Of course, no one would have remembered him either. He faced constant threats of starvation and dehydration while on his numerous voyage. He became malnourished and developed scurvy as a result of lack of vitamin C. These difficulties never slowed him down, but rather propelled him to achieve his dream in life.

Abraham Lincoln

His story is a common tale often told to inspire those going through all sorts of adversity. Abraham Lincoln achieved greatness by his display of wisdom and character during the devastation of the Civil War. He failed on several occasions in his personal life, business, and political career. He nonetheless overcame all these challenges to achieve success.

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King overcame so much adversity in his fight for equality and justice. He was imprisoned on so many occasions. He was stabbed. His house got burnt. There were so many threatening phone calls from strangers. He stood firm and never gave in to fear. Adversity was like a stimulus to the brave Martin Luther King.

Amid great adversity, he made his famous speech: “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop… I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

Mary Groda-Lewis

If there’s anyone who faced tremendous adversity in pursuit of her dream, that person should be Mary Groda-Lewis. Mary had to endure sixteen years of illiteracy because of unrecognized dyslexia. The authorities had to place her to a reformatory on two different occasions. Afflicted by a stroke while bearing a child, she refused to give up. Desperate to go back to college, she worked at a variety of odd jobs to save money and graduated with her high school equivalency at eighteen.

Mary was named Oregon’s outstanding Upward Bound student and finally entered college. Determined to become a doctor, she faced fifteen medical school rejections until Albany Medical College finally accepted her. In 1984, Dr. Mary Groda-Lewis, at thirty-five, graduated with honors to fulfill her dream.