Life goes on. Things move along, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. You look around and are happy that things are chugging along smoothly. Perhaps, not ecstatic, but generally happy. I mean, you have work, a home and a family to come back to, smiles to share and people to socialize with in your life and are generally comfortable. What could go wrong, right?
And then, one day. One day, either you are physically or mentally challenged or have to deal with financial issues. These proliferate into perhaps, emotional and social issues and now, your spirituality that you so much depended on and need to most rely on now, amidst challenges, also comes into question. Will it be your pillar to hold on to or not? All of these challenges can be the result of one thing gone wrong and a ripple effect takes place. Perhaps, the challenge is personal to you and your situation or there has been a larger cause at the community level, and you have to face the repercussions it brings along.
So, how do you react? What do you do? Are you disappointed, angry, helpless and feel victimized? Do you cycle through these and several other emotions? Perhaps, it’s normal to do so. But, whatever your immediate reaction to adversities that stare you in the face, it’s very easy to allow them to engulf you in negativity. All you have to do is do nothing! Acceptance of these adversities while feeling helpless can drown you before you can even start to think!
The biggest challenge that lies in front of you is none of these, but yourself. The ability to see the opportunity and develop resilience to face these adversities; that’s the most difficult, yet the most needed aspect of you in these circumstances. Your survival is solely dependent on this aspect of your character; to see the light amidst the negativity you are surrounded with.
Resilience is a magical word but hard to muster when surrounded with fear, uncertainty, anger, confusion and so much more. Yet, it’s the only rudder in the midst of the storm you are in. Human tendency is to find someone to blame for the issues faced. That does no good. Ignore that urge and accept the fact of where you truly are at the moment.
Take charge of the moment and detach from the emotion of what you are experiencing to think and act rationally.
Seek out what you can control and what you cannot. Plan and work to improve on the ones you can control.
Stop getting pulled into worrying about what could be, and get specific about the cause of the issues and what you can do to contain it.
In the short term, don’t focus on the cause of the problem but instead, focus on how you can act to mitigate it and improve the situation. There will be a time for determining cause, lessons learned etc.
Ensure you understand the challenges thrown at you and how long they will last. As a result, what actions do you need to take to minimize impact? Focus on that.
How you approach the issues and act on the challenges is detrimental to how and when you come out of it.
When adversity strikes, most of us go with our gut reaction. Our ingrained thoughts, habits and beliefs influenced by our experiences come to the fore as reactions. Many a time, they may hinder our rational thinking and the ability to act without emotion. It happens on either extremes, whether you have been through several challenging times or have experienced success phenomenally, throughout your life. Irrespective of which extreme you belong to, rational action takes a hit, blindsiding you with your experiential past in your actions. You may feel totally in control or absolutely helpless, when you may be neither, so long as you rationalize the situation and act.
It’s best to shift from being cause oriented and that aspect dictating your reflexes to active, response oriented thinking and strategy. This forms the basis of a change in mindset required to triumph over adversities. Be a visionary in your approach. Learn to be specific, visualize outcomes, and seek support in action needed. Replace negative emotions with creativity and resourcefulness.
Building resilience is best done under duress; duress of challenges you experience for it brings out your character. Though blind to opportunities in such situations, they exist and are only visible to positive thinking and productive responses.
In order to grow the mindset and skillset needed to face adversities, not just when faced with them, it’s important to develop the right attitudes and skills all the time. Surround yourself with positive people so you are in that atmosphere all the time. Be structured with your thoughts, find value in solitude as well as positive company and most important, invest in your own growth and execute on it.
All of this helps shape us into who we are and who we will become. Confidence builds and we are able to see over the horizon in any situation, whether it goes our way or not. And finally, learning to deal with and address adversity is what creates resilience in us.
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