When I got the email regarding Dr. Norman Rosenthal and his new book, The Gift of Adverstiy: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections, I was intrigued by the title of the book and his story. Dr. Rosenthal's background, and his coming of age in the Apatheid era of South Africa, are powerful introductions to someone who has faced many depths of adversity. As I look back on my own journey I am convinced that adversity is a gift.
I hope you'll be inspired by the following interview I had the pleasure of doing with Dr. Rosenthal:
Your experiences are vast and diverse. What do you want the reader to walk away with after reading the book?
I want the reader to come away with a sense of hope that although adversities are unwanted and sometimes painful and even disabling, whether they are large or small, there are often ways out of those dark places and, most important, lessons to be gained from the journey. Those are the gifts of adversity.
What’s different about people who accept and work thru the gift of adversity?
People who are willing to accept reality are ahead of the game-as opposed to those who deny reality and resort to fantasy. They will assess their situation, reach out for help and support, and find ways to overcome, and learn from, adversity. The book offers many specific guidelines as to how to do so.
In your book, you detail the challenges of growing up in the Apartheid era in South Africa. How did that shape your perspective on seeing adversity as a gift?
brought with it a great deal of adversity, especially for the Blacks who
labored most under its yoke. Adversity was everywhere in evidence, and I
specifically deal with it, for example, by discussing the lives of the servants
who worked for my family and the torture experienced by a cousin of mine. But the whites also suffered from the guilt of watching and often taking
What role does arrogance play in a person’s ability to consider or handle adversity?
arrogant person takes on a position of superiority in relation to others. He is unlikely to learn from mistakes because he doesn't acknowledge his
mistakes. Humble people are more likely to learn and grow from adversity. In one chapter I discuss how it is important to learn something from
Who’s inspiring you right now?
patients always inspire me by the courage with which they embrace their
problems and the creativity with which they work around them to live rich and
diverse lives. Kind people inspire me. I see kindness every day,
and it warms my heart.
In The Gift of Adversity by Dr. Normal Rosenthal, the noted research psychiatrist explores how life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com
About Dr. Norman Rosenthal
The New York Times-bestselling author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation, Winter Blues and How to Beat Jet Lag, Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., attended the University of the Witwatersrand in his native South Africa. He moved to the United States and was resident and chief resident at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the New York Psychiatric Institute. He has conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health for over twenty years. It was there that he first described and diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and has maintained a private practice in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for the past thirty years. Rosenthal is the author or co-author of over 200 professional articles and several popular books, including Winter Blues, the classic work on SAD. He currently serves as medical director and CEO of Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland, where he directs clinical trials in both pharmaceuticals and complementary and alternative medicine.