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Does suffering make us stronger and lead to success?

By Esmeralda Arellano

If you grew up in the 2000s and had a cooler older sister, you have definitely heard the famous Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But how true is this saying?

To better understand this expression, we need to travel all the way back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche found himself questioning whether suffering had any real significant value or if it was just…useless. To ease his mind, he came up with the very well-known quote, “Out of life's school of war, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” This means whatever hardship didn’t completely knock him over, served to make him a stronger and more resilient person. However, I disagree with Nietzche’s statement and the whole idea that suffering is anything other than just a natural part of life. I believe the outcome of suffering is completely up to its victim.

A perfect demonstration of what I mean is Rick and Daryl from the popular T.V. Show, ‘The Walking Dead.’ Though they have both been through a great deal of suffering as a result of the Walker apocalypse. For example, they both watched their whole world and families collapse in an instant. Rick and Daryl are two very different people.

As a result of the trauma Rick faced, he became tougher and grew to be a leader. He put his people before himself and had many friends and people who loved him. He understood everyone deserved a chance for shelter and safety and allowed random people to join his camp. He was also optimistic and very hopeful that there would be a time when things would all go back to normal. No matter how many hardships were thrown in Rick’s direction, he stood his ground and knew he would make it out.

On the other hand, Daryl was more pessimistic. He began to isolate himself from others mentally and physically. He, understandably, grew depressed and didn’t see the point of living anymore. He also was very rude to other survivors.

The only difference between the two was that Rick decided to use his suffering as motivation to be more trusting and kind towards others in a time when humanity as a whole was suffering. While Daryl used his suffering as a scapegoat to be a jerk to people. This can be applied to people in the real world today.

It is ultimately up to you to decide if you want to use your suffering as stepping stones to be a better person and live a successful life. Or use your suffering as an excuse to be a bad person who looks at life through a negative view.

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