The Hotter The Fire, The Harder the Steel

Can success even exist without struggle? Isn’t it the challenges within the journey that really molds and shapes us into who we eventually become?

You have a choice when faced with any crisis in life to either allow it to break you or to use it to grow stronger. If you accept and embrace any hardship as the fire or catalyst for growth, insight, or something which will only serve you in the future, you are going to handle just about any situation with grace and ease. At the very least you will be able to tolerate things better than most.

As a runner, I not only dwell on this subject but also think it about constantly on those hard and nasty days of training, especially in the winter. Bundled up under layers of clothes, fighting the wind and the cold, usually soaked from the inside-out from sweating, while also soaked from the outside-in from the elements; all of that adds a lot of weight and resistance to what would normally be an easy endeavor.

Having faith in the process and believing that today’s struggle will be tomorrow’s strength is often what get me through it. I imagine warm sunny days, unencumbered by weight and layers of clothes and of floating effortlessly along back roads and the trails that I love to run. I rely on the fact that the misery will ultimately give me some magical reserve that I can bank and draw on in the harder stages of a race someday.

It is the hard days that make you stronger, not the easy ones. Think of the greatest success stories that you have ever read or heard of. Which ones are you more impressed and inspired by? Typically, the tale of the underdog forced to overcome obstacle after insurmountable obstacle is the one that most of us can relate to. Do you celebrate the overall success or the final victory when reading about someone, or is it the micro-stories that speak of their overcoming the challenges and roadblocks along their journey that inspires you?

And so it goes with life… Just living day after day you are guaranteed to experience a lot. But through all of that you will grow, change, learn, win some battles, and also lose a few along the way. You might take a few lumps of course but you will ever being broken or defeated unless you decide to be. Just never give up. Through everything will you gain strength to carry you through and be able to face any future fires that life may send your way.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


  1. […] your strengths to your advantage… because everyone has strengths. The hotter the fire the harder the steel… If your beginnings were more challenging than others were, it was probably a great opportunity to […]

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