Two words are key here: "mercies" and "consolation." Translated more literally, "mercies" is "pities" and "consolation" and "comfort" are both variations of the Greek word paraklEseOs, which, as a noun, means something like "besides calling". The Orthodox Study Bible provides a very good insight on 2 Cor. 1:3-11:
"The source of afflictions is the sin of humanity. The purpose of afflications, if we use them properly, may be our comfort [=calling] and salvation, as the Father Himself preserves us through them (v. 3). The means of facing our afflictions is a hope in God which allows us to enter into the afflictions of others in actual, experiential knowledge... The communion of saints, spiritual solidarity, is to begin now in the pains of this life." We must learn to use everything to realize our destiny.