Life can change in an instant.
A horrific car crash, an unexpected joy of a baby, discovering you've been cheated on, your house catching fire and burning down. All sorts of things can change your perspective on life in an instant. The same can be said for your characters.
Their world can come crumbling down in so many ways. Makes for great stories. It is hard to write something like that unless you've actually faced it in your own life. Or at least that's how I feel. I have had tragedy in my life, I honestly can say it has helped me understand how people react to life-changing situations so much more.
Whether it made me a better writer or not, time will tell.
Have you drawn from any major life experiences in your writing?