The Gift of Adversity

The Gift of Adversity


“Mindset is the most powerful tool that anyone can ever have. It is one of the best assets in the world. Once you program your mind for success and victory, you are unstoppable.”

Sala Takiveikata


We all have stories, experiences and issues. We have all faced some type of adversity from time to time and Sala Takiveikata has witnessed firsthand what happens when you focus on the pain caused by traumatic events in your life. Today’s episode uncovers how Sala found her purpose through the challenges faced when dealing with adversity and shares her personal journey which identifies how these circumstances can either break us or build us up.


Credentials such as a Bachelor of Commerce from Macquarie University, a Masters of Commerce from the University of Sydney Business School and currently working to achieve a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) are an impressive resume at any level. These accolades, proudly achieved by Sala, a Fijian female political refugee, only tell part of her story and are the result of a mindset built on the foundation of strength, courage and the ability to overcome cultural diversity.


Related Post: Leadership Experiences of a Refugee – Quang Nguyen


The first season of Sala’s life was spent growing up in rural Fiji. She is the youngest of five children and has a twin brother. Her early childhood is filled with memorable times growing crops for personal consumption, with her close-knit family, in a fun and loving environment. At the age of nine Sala’s life took a dramatic turn and she found herself in the middle of a drawn-out custody battle which lasted until she finished school. This was a result of her parent’s failed marriage. During this period Sala’s father, who was a public figure involved in a political dilemma, was continually arrested, harassed by the military regime that had instigated a coup and overthrown a democratically-elected Fijian Government.


By 2009 Sala, found peace in alcohol and also, at times, contemplated taking her own life. She was also dealing with the pain of witnessing her twin brother develop attitude and behavioural issues and being admitted to psychiatric care. It was at this stage she asked her father to help her leave Fiji because she had come to the realisation that there was nothing left for her in her home country, due to the association of her last name. She knew deep inside that she had potential that she needed to tap into and, understanding that you cannot heal in the environment that broke you, she headed to Australia to seek a better life.


Related Post: Are You Born With Resilience? – Andrew Paton-Smith


In today’s The Culture of Leadership Podcast, we hear how Sala pursued education despite her pain and, although she was not ready for the new environment and foreign culture, she has never lost sight of how grateful she is to be granted entry into a country where work and education is readily accessible. Sala has taken her love of playing with numbers and used the opportunity given to her by a new start, to become the person she wanted to be. The gift of adversity is also something she has leaned on in her mentoring role, a program she has embraced through Macquarie University, where her life experiences, resilience and high level of emotional intelligence is changing lives.


Sala’s father remains her motivator to this day despite the fact that at 73 years of age he is, unfortunately, serving a life sentence. His downfall has been a blessing in disguise for Sala and she is determined to use her time in Australia to make him proud.


Life will always be comprised by setbacks, roadblocks and detours, yet Sala is now able to reflect on and appreciate how far she has come. Join us here to listen to Sala’s story which is proof that where there is a will, there is a way.


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