Adversity and Learning : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Is it true that we learn best from adversity? When I look back and think about it, the answer seems to be 'yes'. Why is that? Nobody wants adversity, and yet it may be a necessary part of our growing and learning process, both individually and collectively.

Certainly, with Y2K, some adversity is what we face. Though there is disagreement on the severity, problems and adversity from Y2K cannot be avoided. Does this mean that a corresponding learning experience is coming also? Perhaps since Y2K is unprecedented, the potential learning experience will also be unprecedented.

What do you think  is it true that we learn best from adversity, and what implications does this have given the reality of Y2K?

-- Rob Michaels (, June 05, 1999


We may learn that onward & upward (car size, house size, stock value) is not "never ending". Unfortunately we have short memories. The depression of the thirties is ancient history. My 90 year old mother remembers, but that is about it. Only the most devestating events are remembered more than a few decades. Perhaps we need to stumble once in a while, just to be humbled.

-- curtis schalek (, June 05, 1999.

Hi Curtis. Someone once wrote that we humans make 'progress'`with three steps forward and two steps back. Y2K may turn out to be two steps back in and of itself, which may imply a corresponding 'by itself' three steps forward afterward.

-- Rob Michaels (, June 05, 1999.

I can say this: The lessons learned best are those that cost you something. You might have paid lots of money, or you could have paid with "coin of pain". When you went to college, it was clear to see which student paid their own way and which ones' costs were paid by their parents......

Too many folks these days are far away from an experience of pain and suffering. Personal histories, written by family members long ago tell the story of their experiences, and those of us lucky enough to have those stories can choose to learn and benefit from them. I know that certain family members had great hardships and struggles. I remember them, and am very very busy preparing so that I do not have to spend a winter in a sod dugout with the water dripping on my head for a whole winter,like some of them did. Even so, if I find myself in a similar situation, I believe that I can survive the experience.

I wonder if other feel the same.....

-- nobody (, June 05, 1999.

ROB: I would say that yes, adversity tends to create "significant emotional events." Because this occurs, the reasoning part of the mind tends to operate at a more focused level - much in the same manner as the physical body does under an adrenalin rush.

I have no knowledge of any scientific research behind this but relating my own experience, I seem to remember those instances where in my triumph over adversity, the lessons I learned remain with me to this day. Other lessons, though they may be equally learned, do not carry the "impact" (emotion) of those lessons learned through adversity.

One final point. One of my favorite expressions that I have used on a previous post is relevant here. "The harsh lessons of life are not for the faint of heart."

Said another way, if you are "up to the test" then yes, the harsh (borne of adversity) lessons of life may indeed be the best teachers.

-- Dave Walden (, June 05, 1999.


I think you right, that we learn from our experiences. Also, we never know where the future will take us. Best laid plans of mice and men.... didn't become a saying for no good reason. I personally think that when the dust settles, sometime down the road, in years to come, that we'll start something new that is better than what we have now. But as to the form and function of it, can't say. I have always thought that the people who got on those old sailing ships and came to "The New World" of America had a lot of guts. They really didn't know what they would be getting into, only what they left behind, and dreams of a better life. Most of them had their dreams come true. Most of us, born and raised in the USA during the last 50+ years haven't had to face gutwrenching decisions like the immigrants. Many of us, perhaps most of us, will be tested about this real soon now.

-- Gordon (, June 05, 1999.


We're a bunch of whimps. Our fathers, grandfathers and those before built, bled and died to preserve what they had and save us from their lives of toil, hardship and war.

They worked too well---God love 'em.

It's tougher to step up to the plate over something as ethereal as y2k but that's our challenge, our adversity. There are other challenges we need to face for the sake of our kids and grandkids, but, as of now y2k is at the top of my list. I'm learning. My kids are learning. Adversity works.

-- Carlos (, June 06, 1999.

for myself, adversity IS learning. It'll make you or break you. I've seen much of it and have learned from even the worst of it. The most compelling thing adversity has taught me, is to choose my reaction to each event carefully. Something positive can ALWAYS be found...and must be. Y2k is the end? No, it will be the beginning. Will I choose fear or determination. Will I cry or find the humor. If you think about it, we are never truely without choices or options. We may not be able to choose the circumstances we find ourselves in, but we will always be able to choose our perceptions.

-- Will continue (, June 06, 1999.


The most profound lessons I have experienced in my life come from those times when I was totally helpless in the face of adversity.

Growing up I could never subscribe to the Idea of some creator diety, or universal intelligence, or the likes. It wasn't until I had absouletly no where to go, no one to look to, totally hopless and helpless, that I surrendered to something I did not even believe in. Can you imagine my surprise. The totally logical Mr Mike, given to surrender to an unseen, unknown, unloved God. Reduced to whimpering prayer. Unable to solve the puzzle, overcome the problem, out think the opponent.

It works!!

-- unspun@lright (, June 06, 1999.

With regards to the great posts above, these quotes keep me focused when the (SHTF), "A faint heart ne'er one fair made" and "whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."

-- rob (, June 06, 1999.

All: Looks like it is unanimous. The tie with emotions and 'coin of pain', the adrenalin rush, the "New World" pilgrims sacrifices and experiences, the idea of our previous generations pain and sacrifice in giving us what we now take for granted and (as a result our comparative weakness), having a strong belief and value system to draw upon during adversity, and the 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' idea - all makes sense to me.

Thanks to all of you for these thoughtful responses. I had to chuckle when reading some of them since they fairly well described some of my own experiences (better than I could). And whoever said that there would be a beginning is right I think. The Beginning of the world as we Build it, perhaps.

I guess one next logical step is looking to the 'how this affects our children', specifically the younger ones. They will be the ones who live with the experiences and lessons from Y2K adversity the longest, and they in turn I think would feel compelled to teach their children these lessons, just as our parents taught lessons of the Great Depression to us. History will once again repeat itself, with a twist, as we go from uncertainty to uncertainty, towards a new beginning.

-- Rob Michaels (, June 06, 1999.

Hi Rob!

The short answer to your question is: Original Sin.

The long answer will take the rest of our lives to consider.

-- GA Russell (, June 07, 1999.

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