In The Face of Adversity


Carlos Hernandez



A shift in the wind is felt going through the east and firmly heading out towards the west; the year is 486 BC… Xerxes The Great has succeeded his father, Darius as ruler of the Prussian empire. Upon taking full reign over the great and overwhelming powers of the Persian empire, Xerxes decides to continue his father’s campaign against Greece. In 480 BC, Xerxes began his campaign to conquer Greece. While many Greek city-states either join Xerxes or remain neutral, Athens and Sparta were the two who led the resistance against the vast and overwhelming forms of the Persian empire.

As the war moves forward, news spreads to the Spartan King of the impending invasion. He comes face-to-face with adversity. The dark and overwhelming forces of the Persian empire are on the way to invade his lands and enslave his people. Who was this king? What was his name? His name was Leonidas, the Great King of Sparta.

As the threat to his kingdom grows closer, Leonidas faces uncertain times. He must choose to either fight and take on adversity or forever live on his knees as a slave to his fears. Amid all his troubles, Leonidas makes his choice. As the great leader he was, he set aside all his fears, took responsibility, and prepared for war. With only a small amount of time left on his hands, Leonidas gathers his guard, recites his last and final farewell to his beloved Queen, and then marches off, alongside his brave and fierce man.

His guard, who will forever be remembered as “The 300,” proudly marched alongside their King, fully understanding that they were on a quest with no return. Though they knew there was no return, they fully comprehended that amid all this pain, they would be fighting to protect the lives of the ones that they loved. When the Spartans arrived at the mountain pass of Thermopylae, they were united with fellow Greeks’ resistance. As the battle at the “Gates of Fire” begins, the Greek army, which was estimated to have had about 7000 soldiers, was led by Leonidas, the Great King of Sparta. And yet, while the invading forces of Persia were estimated to have up to 300,000 soldiers, the Greeks were not intimidated by their enemy.

Despite the large difference in their numbers, the Greeks maintained the resistance against their enemy for a time. Through the use of strategy and their brave and fierce skills in combat, the Greeks persevered and, in fact, imposed a vast majority of casualties on the Persian army. One man betrayed the Greeks, Ephialtes. Ephialtes was a Greek citizen paid off by Xerxes and led the Persians down a secret path around Thermopylae and turned the tides on the Greeks, destroying a large number of their forces. Upon the attack, Leonidas is now forced to call upon a war council, at which time it was decided that they all call retreat. Surrounded, outnumbered, and in the midst of most of the Greek army retreating, Leonidas, his 300 bodyguards, and about 1100 Boeatians refuse to retreat and take their stand.

And as the leader of the Persian empire, Xerxes, calls for the Spartans to surrender their weapons, Leonidas steps forward and replies, “Come and take them!” He then leads the charge into battle against adversity and fights until death. Leonidas fought for what he believed, he fought for what he loved, he fought for his kingdom, he fought for Sparta.

Is your life any less? You live for what you believe in; you live for what you love; your life is your kingdom. So tell me, why not fight for it?

Like Leonidas, we too have battles of our own; we also come face-to-face with adversity. Our battles may not be battles that we must fight until death, yet they are still battles, and they are still real. For adversity comes in many forms; daily struggles, stress, depression, illness, the death of a loved one, financial problems, family and marital issues, and much, much more. The truth is that the list just goes on and on and on, for adversity is in all of our difficulties and problems. Yes, adversity is part of life, and the story of “The 300” shows us that it’s been going on for centuries; adversity is something that humankind will always have to face.

Does that mean that you should just give up? Absolutely not; only like we all deal with adversity, we all hold the same power to attain resilience. Attaining resilience means being strong, happy, and thriving again after a difficult time or a difficult situation. You may say, well, how do I do that?

Well, my dear friends, you can choose to be brave, you can choose to take on adversity, you can choose to take King Leonidas as an example and a role model. Fight or forever live on your knees as a slave to your each and every day fears. The only way to overcome this dark and negative cycle is by remaining positive, optimistic, fighting, adapting, and persevering through your battle against adversity. Your battles may not be till death, yet in every battle there is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity for you to fight for a greater good.

Yes, Leonidas and “The 300” fought until death. Do not think that their death had no impact on life. For because of their actions and because of their choice to go up against adversity, not only did they save the ones that they loved, but because of their choice, all of Greece came together, united, and defeated the Persians. It is because of that choice that today we have what is called a democracy, for Persia was an empire that was ruled on Tierney. The moral of the story is that regardless of the outcome, we must all choose to go up against adversity.

Your life is your kingdom; your life is everything; it is time to face adversity, it is time to overcome your daily struggles, it’s time to achieve great things. No storm lasts forever; it is time to live free and on your feet. It is time to make your choice, choose to fight, choose to persevere and attain resilience. The option is yours, and the time is now!

Carlos Hernandez

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