The Profound Gift Beyond Adversity: Embracing Life After the Storm

Craig Stanland
3 min readSep 22, 2023

There’s a gift on the other side of adversity.

It’s the moment you realize you’re no longer in the belly of the beast; you’ve made it out.

And you’re OK.

This is one of the most profound moments of our human experience.

But there is a moment that exceeds even that.

It’s the moment you realize your experience can be of service to others.

When you can step outside of the experience, speak openly and honestly about what happened for you, and understand that by doing so, you can be of service to others.

This is nothing short of magical.

I write about very dark experiences in my life: prison, fear, loss, divorce, and suicide ideation.

I do this to shed light on topics people may be afraid to discuss in their own lives. So that they know they’re not alone.

So they can reinvent their lives into something extraordinary.

It’s my calling and my purpose.

I can go to the depths of my soul and, as someone wrote in a review of my book, “TEAR HIMSELF OPEN” because I’m at peace.

Because the past does not own me; I own my past.

As Steven Pressfield said in Turning Pro,

“The amateur is an egoist. He takes the material of his personal pain and uses it to draw attention to himself. He creates a “life,” a “character,” a “personality.”

The artist and professional, on the other hand, have turned a corner in their minds. They have succeeded in stepping back from themselves. They have grown so bored with themselves and so sick of their petty bullshit that they can manipulate those elements the way a HazMat technician handles weapons-grade plutonium.

They manipulate them for the good of others.”

I cannot express how much I love this passage.

I’m no longer trapped by the emotions around the darkness I discuss, which is precisely why I can write about the darkness the way I do.

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Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.