As parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles what we wish for our kids is a better life. When pressed for what constitutes “a better life,” few of us have a clear, concise answer.
For many of us, “better” means “easier.” We want our kids to enjoy lives devoid of struggles and heartaches. We want success to come easily to them so that they can experience joy in daily living.
I’m going to suggest that this is the wrong wish. While well-intentioned, there are several things inherently wrong with this wish.
For one thing, struggles, heartache and hard-won successes are inevitable aspects of the human condition. No one who lives is devoid of these human experiences.
Oh, on the surface, it may appear that some have all the best that life can offer, but beneath that surface lies the truth. We’ve all ached for the success that top entertainers and athletes enjoy, yet closer inspection shows that all of them struggle with something.
Some of the most talented have committed suicide. Many have turned to drugs. Some came from abusive homes or even homelessness. All have family or loved ones who suffer the same maladies that plague the rest of us.
It’s not a question of whether you’ll face challenges, whether you’ll struggle, but in which ways you’ll struggle. It’s inevitable.
Struggle essential for growth
The second reason why I believe that wishing for an easier life is the wrong wish is that growth occurs only through struggle. That’s the essence of the old adage “no pain, no gain.” It’s been used so often that it’s lost its meaning, but what it really says is that growth is the byproduct of overcoming the challenges we face.
The more frequent the challenges we face, the more quickly we grow. Not only in our ability to deal with challenges, but in our confidence in our ability to do so.
The benefits of struggle don’t end with greater ability and greater confidence. Confident people are effusive in their desire to share the joy their confidence affords with others. They want to share the joy they experience with others. They want others to experience the same joy and confidence that comes from overcoming the challenges they face. Consequently confident people are encouraging and supportive of others facing challenges.
Confident people elevate others by believing in them and their ability to achieve whatever they desire, to overcome any challenge they face. They readily over insights, encouragement and support to those facing struggles in their lives. And they experience as much joy at helping others succeed as in their own success. For they realize that others’ success is also their success. In the process, confident people lead by example. Others admire them, not only for their ability, but for the joy they experience in everyday living.
The right wish for our kids is not to be devoid of challenges, struggles and hard-won success, but to live joyfully despite them.
And the key to living joyfully is confidence. The more confident we are in our ability to deal with anything that life sends our way, the easier it is to deal with the inevitable challengers we face. In other words our confidence enables us to enjoy our ability to not only deal effectively with life’s challenges for ourselves, but for others as well. The more people that we help, whose lives become richer for having received our help, encouragement, our belief in them and their goodness, the more joyful our lives become.
Don’t wish for a better/easier life. Relish the joy you experience in overcoming life’s challenges, in the confidence that you gain as a result and in the knowledge that you are helping others enjoy richer, fuller lives multiple times a day, every day.
For our kids
Live the life I just described and your kids will emulate your behaviors. When they see you live joyfully despite the inevitable challenges life affords, they too will gain confidence in their ability to deal with anything that comes their way…and do so while living joyfully. I can’t imagine a greater gift that we can give our kids.
If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.