Life, Experience, and Adversity

Rajesh Jain writes:

…we use ‘crucible’ to refer to an intense, meaningful and often transformational experience.”

That is the context for a “crucible experience” – something which transforms us, and shakes and shapes our lives. We have all gone through these experiences in our life – some of these experiences last a short time, others much longer. Either way, they help change us in some way. More often than not, these are intense and deeply personal experiences, which we would rather not talk about. Even thinking about these experiences makes us want to purge them from our memories. But whatever happens, they leave an indelible mark on us for the rest of our life.

Crucible experiences have a way of testing us. They bring out aspects of our personality that we did not know existed. We can think of them in other words (for example, adversity). In each case, they help build our character – be it as an individual or in the workplace. These events can be voluntary – for example, a difficult and dangerious trek we decided to take. At other times, they just happen – leaving us rushing to react. It is also at times like these that we realise whom we are really close to. All in all, the crucible experiences are character-building. While we are going through these experiences, we may wonder why is it happening to us. But later (sometimes much, much later), when we reflect back, we realise that there was definitely some good that came out of it.

Each of our lives is the sum of our experiences. As Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Add to that Benjamin Disraeli’s quote, “There is no education like adversity.” Take them together and you can think of crucible experiences as life’s step functions: each taking us to a new, higher level, as long as we are willing to learn.

From E M E R G I C . o r g