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How I Made Adversity My Biggest Strength

By April 1, 2017Motivation, Move, Think


The word matters to every person with a story to tell. And everyone has a story: tall or short, rich or poor. Adversity has challenged us all in what feel like the hardest of times. These are the times we are most vulnerable. But we might not realize they’re also some of the most advantageous times in our lives.

You see, there was the part of my life when I was forced to take what was given to me and utilize it for my own benefit. And from that point on, the struggle to rise up was no more– growth came naturally.

As a guy, growing up with a slim, stick-figure-esque body was tough. People often underestimate how difficult it is for a newbie to walk inside the gym and get comfortable using the equipment without any stress or anxiety.

I remember days when a fellow gym-goer, quadruple my size, would ask me how many more reps I had left. A simple question, but I felt so intimidated that I rushed through my sets as quickly as humanly possible, sacrificing my form just so I didn’t have him lurking around.


Everyone from brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles to friends would all call me out for my scrawny figure. Weak, frail, skinny, and stick were all synonymous with me. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me could not have been any more false.

I remember one incredible moment when my grandparents came to visit my uncle’s house. We were there to see family and I was exhausted, from head to toe. My first week of training had me wanting to sleep longer than Sleeping Beauty herself. All I could dream of was resting my achy body and everybody could see my fatigue. My aunt asked what was up with me and my parents replied that I was tired from the first week of the gym. My aunt burst into tears laughing right in front of me; she was in complete disbelief that I was putting in any work at the gym. She didn’t think it showed. But the truth was, I was in fact putting in the work. I went to the gym week in and week out, pressing and pushing those weights with due diligence.

I was fortunate enough to experience a transformation from all of this, but more importantly I learned a valuable lesson:

This adversity, this hurtful treatment and doubt… I can use it for something.

I don’t have to let it discourage me; I can use it for motivation. I can use those words and that laughter and shove it right back in their faces. And that’s exactly what I did.

It’s important to know and understand that people will always try to break down your mindset. But nobody can take that passion, that pride, that love, and that drive to reach your goals from you.

Let the people around you call you overweight, underweight, short, athletic, or any other word. None of that matters. I didn’t let them deter me from pursuing my passion. I continued on, and I made myself strong: mentally and physically. I had the right mindset with the passion in my soul with the right people surrounding me. I can’t emphasize enough what good friends can do for you, both in terms of fitness and otherwise, to drive you to achieve even more than your goals by supporting you along the way.

You see, it all comes down to mental health. It’s important for you to realize that no body is the same. It’s okay to be less athletic than the person next to you, or more bulky, or heavier, or a foot shorter. The fact that you have dedicated time to work on yourself and take care of your body during the week, and have the ability to workout at all, is a blessing in itself.

This life has truly been a blessing for me, and the Fit University community has made it even better. These hard workers are just another example of hard work personified and with that, I leave you guys off till next time. 


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Author Syed Muhtasim

Hi guys my name is Syed and I'm currently in my third year at Stony Brook University. In a campus with so much to do, you can find me in the recreational center on a consistent basis or searching up new ideas and new ways to push my limits and get stronger. Off the weights, you can find me studying, doing research, and working on my way to becoming a dentist. On my free time, I love to eat as cheesecake is my weakness and I love comedy. A lot of people think I look like Aziz Anzari but really I look more like Chris hemsworth!

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