The Blog

How Do You Deal With Adversity?

I was listening to one of those motivational coaches the other day referring to people that had faced adversity and resolved to do something with their lives.

I was listening to one of those motivational coaches the other day referring to people that had faced adversity and resolved to do something with their lives.

It occurred to me that most of the examples quoted by successful people had each, in their own way, dealt with some form of adversity.

This ranged between having been abused in some way as a child, through learning issues (dyslexia and suchlike), through to having to deal with major injury or illness.

These people had drawn upon their inner strengths in the face of adversity to overcome whatever it was that had had a significant, perceived negative, effect on their lives.

Now, I don't for one moment believe that it's only people facing adversity that make the big step forward.

I feel there are two things at play here.

Firstly, if you are going to quote a good luck story the whole thing takes on a new dimension when this apparent battle with adversity comes into play.

It just doesn't sound as impressive to say that 'Bill Smith achieved greatness despite having to deal with being an ordinary, average guy' with no back story!

It just doesn't sound that exciting, does it?

But, I believe that scenario is more 'real' than the others. More in line with what happens in most cases.

Yes, those with a big story to tell are going to get more publicity, but that does not mean there are more of them.

The other factor, I believe, is many people take big steps forward in their lives, perhaps as a reaction to some 'lesser' adversity, but they just get on and do it without making a song and dance of it. They don't publicise it, don't make a big issue of it.

Be honest, we are all facing adversities at various levels, every day of our lives. It's just that some people just quietly get on with it! While others make a big fuss!

One of the key things to remember here is no matter what it is we are faced with, it is the way we respond that matters!

It's the old 'glass half full' analogy. For each life event, we are faced with, we have the power to decide how we are going to respond.

It may be that you are already under a lot of stress when faced with an issue, financial pressures, whatever, and your natural response to sudden challenging situations may automatically be negative.

"Oh, why is this happening to me now?"

"This really is not what I need to be dealing with now. I have enough on my plate!"

"I don't believe it! I really can't cope with this right now!"

How do you deal with this? Well, let me take you back to something you may have been taught at school. Remember what you were taught about crossing the road? It would have been something along the lines of - Stop! Look! Listen!

Well, apply that same lesson here.

Before you react to a situation (or even, as is likely, over-react!):

Stop - take a deep breath, count to ten, consider where you are and what you are doing.

Look - at what has just happened, what you have just been confronted with. Is it life-threatening? Is it actually as bad as you thought it was at first?

Listen - to the conversation in your head. Weigh up the pros and cons. It's probably not as bad as you thought it was. Think of the positives rather than the negatives.

Quite often we react badly to something because it has broken our routine and is perceived to be an inconvenience. But in the long term, it may have positive repercussions so we needn't have worried after all.

One important aspect is to consider whether you can do anything about the issue yourself. Do you have control or does that lie elsewhere?

If control is not in your hands then stop worrying about it! There's nothing you can do. Focus instead on stuff you do have control of otherwise you'll achieve nothing but generate negative thoughts.

Only respond if you have control, and even then, only respond in a positive manner.

You may find this hard the first few times you try it, but after a while, it will become second nature for you to interpret things in a more positive way. In doing so you will find other people will respond in turn to you in a much more positive way.

There's no better time to start adopting a positive mindset than right now!