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by Tom Seaman, BS, CPC


The hidden opportunities within our problems

Posted on February 21, 2016 at 12:25 AM

The hidden opportunities within our 'problems'
by Tom Seaman

Life is filled with endless opportunities. Sometimes the opportunities, or silver lining, are hard to see when we have problems with our health, finances, family, or career, but they exist. When we shift our thought patterns, good fortune will always be revealed.

As Napoleon Hill wrote in Think and Grow Rich, “One of the tricks of opportunity is that it has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

Instead of recognizing the opportunities that lie within our “misfortune”, we often get angry and become closed minded. Some even feel vengeful, as if the world is out to get them. It is imperative that during these times we persevere, open our minds, and really pay attention. It is then that we realize that life is happening for us, not to us.

This perspective helps us remain hopeful in the present moment and about our future. It also allows for tremendous growth to take place, as it is during difficult times that we learn the most about ourselves. Challenges require us to truly look deep inside to find the life changing lessons. This is one of the gifts, or beauty if you will, of “problems.” They teach us character and how to be mentally and physically resilient.

Fifteen years ago, my life dramatically changed when I developed a painful neurological movement disorder called Dystonia. It has been the greatest challenge of my life, but also my greatest teacher. When I learned to live with it and not fight it so much, new doors opened for me to learn and grow. I had to work with it to find peace and healing. This gave me a new outlook on a life I thought was taken from me by this health condition. Dystonia changed things in major ways indeed, but it opened doors to important life classrooms.

We can’t change anything until we accept it. We have to stop saying life shouldn’t be this or that way; it should be this way, because it is this way! We have to stop resisting what is, move forward, and make great things happen.

With this in mind, I made a promise to myself. I said, “I do not know why this health issue happened to me and I lost everything, but I do know one thing for sure; something great is going to come from it because I refuse to go through this for nothing.” I first heard this from author and motivational speaker, Sonia Ricotti. I carry it with me every day and great things continue to happen


Be thankful for closed doors. They often guide us to the right one. Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. Don’t start your day with broken pieces of yesterday. Today is a new day to start fresh. Every day is another chance to change your life.

A healthy way to deal with problems is to look at them as opportunities for growth.
- C Norman Sheely, MD, PhD -

Tom Seaman is a dystonia awareness advocate and certified professional life coach in the area of health and wellness. He is also the author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey. To learn more about Tom and get a copy of his book, visit Follow him on Twitter: @dystoniabook1

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Reply Tom Seaman
5:36 PM on February 21, 2016 
I think Sonia is great! I get frustrated at times also, even though like you I know there is a rhyme and reason to all of this and everything else. Sometimes it seems very clear and other times rather elusive. Perhaps we are exactly where we are supposed to be at every single moment and just need to settle in and let the answers come to us without interfering too much. When my brain gets in the way, that is when I get myself into trouble :)
Reply Michelle Shaw
3:37 PM on February 21, 2016 
I recognized that quote from Sonia and feel exactly the same way. That doesn't mean I don't get frustrated and sad at times. However, I'm obviously supposed to be on this journey for a reason. I'm just not quite sure what that is yet.