Have you heard the above quote? It’s a famous quote by the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. There’s even a song about it by Kelly Clarkson, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn676-fLq7I.
While this quote sounds quite empowering, do you know what’s the real meaning behind it? I used to think this is about a situation where an enemy who doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. I was not sure how exactly it would work out, but my idea was, if a lion doesn't kill you, you become stronger.
Well, as it turns out, I was quite wrong about that quote. “What” in that statement is not an external factor, but an internal one. It's about a personal crisis someone might face. When faced with a personal crisis, there are only few outcomes, either a person gives up and attempts or commits suicide, or they revert to their old ways and may end up crippled by their grief, anger, or frustration. But in a best case scenario, that same person figures out the best way of coping with the crises, and emerges out stronger than before.
And I think this is what Friedrich Nietzsche was talking about in that sentence. If a personal crisis doesn’t kill you, you become stronger. Because you overcame that crisis, and you learned how to handle that situation, and you can do the same in the future as well. How you overcome is up to you, but if you do manage to get out, you become a stronger version of yourself.
These thoughts are brought to you as I am reading this book called Upheaval by Jared Diamond.