The most decisive difference between transformation and any form of dysfunctional busy work (workaholism, escapism, etc) is acceptance. It’s the movement of the heart from a state of resignation (to the apparent implications of the circumstance) to an active state of surrender ( to the divine will that orchestrated the events.). The divine will is fundamentally beyond duality and aligning with it requires a letting go of taking a side (deciding what’s right and what should have happened). This transcendence is the transformative process that eventually allows one to see the divine wisdom writ large, that previously wasn’t observable.
In short, any discomforting situation carries the seeds of a magnificent spiritual transformation beyond what could have been reached in a stable and innocuous situation. Just as we were born fairly early in development and therefore helpless, in order to grow into the complexity that is the brain, so do we have to contend with the growth spurs of our spiritual body as it were. And the clash of the opposites is just the fertile ground for the spirit.