We all face adversity in our lives. For the most part, we can’t choose what troubles come our way. But, we can choose how to respond to these troubles. We can let them consume us and make us miserable, we can let them harden us and become angry at life and the world in general, or we can learn to make the best of adversity, seeing the proverbial glass half-full and not allowing it to get us down.
That is the great thing about life. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to things. Many times, if we respond to an event positively, positive results often times occur. On the other hand, if we respond to an event negatively, a negative result often times occurs. The key then, is to learn to respond to adversity in a positive way. But how do we do this effectively? Here are 3 ways to look at adversity so that you can respond to it more favorably.
Adversity Teaches Us About Ourselves
When troubling times happen, we can choose to run and hide or we can embrace the issue, look within and learn about ourselves. Sadly, many of us run and hide. This is what makes adversity so difficult for many. We allow it to take control of our lives and we in turn live in fear. If you want to end this cycle, you need to do something that is going to sound scary to many of you: face the adversity head on.
When you face adversity head on, you learn about yourself and the issues surrounding the adversity. When I was in college and for a few years afterwards, I got myself into a good bit of credit card debt. I would tell myself I was going to stop spending and start paying off my debt. But the cycle of me telling this to myself and my out of control spending continued for months. It wasn’t until I decided to actually face the adversity that I was able to overcome it. I had to look within and see that I was depressed and suffering from low self-esteem to find the reason as to why I was overspending.
Once I faced my adversity and dug deep inside of me, I was then able to overcome the adversity I was facing. Trust me, I know it can be scary to look deep within ourselves, but many times, that is where the problem lies. Until you are courageous enough to face that fear, you will continue to face adversity.
Adversity Is A Great Teacher
We can learn a lot when we face adversity. While we all want to be successful, there is a lot to be learned from failing. Unfortunately, from a very young age we are taught that failure is bad. As a result many of us go through life with a constant fear of failing. We need to change this outlook on failing and embrace failing. Failing is a good thing.
The best boss I ever had encouraged me to fail. He believed that we fail because we are trying something new. When we are trying something new, we are pushing ourselves and growing as a person. You can’t grow and become a better person if you are always staying in your comfort zone. Learn to step outside your comfort zone and grow as a person. Yes you will probably fail. But look at it as a learning opportunity and not so much as time wasted.
Adversity Leads To Opportunity and Success
When bad things happen to us, we either wallow in despair or we can take the adversity and turn it into a positive. Many times, if we change our outlook on an adversity and think outside of the box, we can turn that adversity into an opportunity for success.
At one point in my dating life, I became frustrated. Many first dates never lead to a second date. I wanted to find love, but it felt like I was just floating along, lost at sea. After a particularly bad date, I was riding the subway back home and had a revelation. I wasn’t lost at sea as I previously thought. All of these failed dates are simply getting me closer and closer to meeting the love of my life.
It’s the same idea that Edison used when inventing the light bulb. He failed many times, but after each failure, he was able to tweak his design and come a little closer to success. Eventually I met the love of my life. Had I not changed my outlook, who knows where I would be today.
Adversity is going to happen throughout your life. If you can learn to react to it positively, you can make adversity a much less scary thing. For me, it is much easier to look within myself now because I’ve already done it and it wasn’t that bad. As a result, adversity doesn’t have the same crippling effect on me as it once did.
Similarly, if we can learn to accept failure and think outside of the box, we can turn adversity into growing opportunities and potentially more success down the road. Remember, life is all about choices. You cannot choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to those things. Learn to react positively and you will find that adversity isn’t as scary of a thing as it once was.