Today my son is sitting his final aviation exam, which he has been studying diligently for for over a month. It is the final exam of 7 that he has been taking over the last two years since finishing his Degree. The exam is over three hours and means that he will finally qualify for his Aviation Degree and more importantly that he will be able to fulfil his dream of flying commercial air craft.

I began thinking of the types of tests that each of us inevitably face in life, including physical tests, mental tests, emotional tests, spiritual tests, or sexual tests. Whether you realise it or not, all of life’s tests have a specific purpose and reason for occurring.

Often our greatest power comes from moments of discomfort, pain, vulnerability and raw truth. Tests are often our greatest blessings in disguise because they are indications that we are ready to evolve to the next level. When life sees that we have the potential to progress to the next step, and feels that we are ready, if will often present the next challenge, often when you least expect it.

Life tests come in many different fashions: subtle, bold, seen, and unseen. Life will capitalise upon the opportunities to test your own internal environment of heart, mind, body, and spirit, all in the name of self-mastery. Life will also take the chance to capitalise on your external environment by orchestrating people, places, things, and experiences to play out so as to expose your insecurities, weakness, and areas of growth.

Though we cannot choose most of the tests we face in life, we can choose how we’re going to face them. Are we going to have a miserable experience, crumble under the pressure, run away or avoid challenges altogether? Or are we going to find the strength and inner resources to rise to the challenges and fully actualize our potential? Facing tests in the right way will give you this opportunity.

When you face the tests of life, learn from them and grow with them, you become that person. The tests of life require you to call on the inner resources residing deep inside you. Tests are like a challenging teacher or friend—if you maintain a good relationship with them, many of your best qualities will emerge.

It reminds me of the phrase created by William Shakespeare “the world is your oyster and you are the pearl”.

Pearls are formed from an irritation. A foreign object, like a grain of sand, finds an opening into the oyster. It’s painful and irritating to the oyster, and to protect itself, the oyster starts to cover the foreign object with nacre. Many layers later, a beautiful pearl is formed.

Not all oysters produce pearls though. Pearls are rare. Life is not easy and its not fair – it takes courage, hard work and grace. It also takes perseverance and will, and learning from life’s lessons to evolve into a beautiful shining pearl of any colour.

Ultimately life is a test for us to show up and become the best version of ourselves.

And yes, my son did pass his exam – he worked hard, showed up and I couldn’t be more proud of the vision that he his holding to be the best version of himself.