How to Manage Adversity When Things Go Terribly Wrong

We all encounter different types of adversity from time to time and some certainly encounter it more than others. Some of us thrive in the face of a great challenge and others struggle to get out of bed. Successful people find a way to manage adversity and navigate around life’s roadblocks that typically bring others to a standstill.

Why is it that some people bounce back and find a way to overcome misfortune and defeat? The primary reason is that they know how to manage adversity. They don’t allow themselves to become overwhelmed with negative emotions or thoughts. Rather, they take time to process what they’ve endured and then continue to move forward. This sort of mental toughness helps them seek out opportunities instead of wallowing in utter despair.

If you want to continue to grow and develop a following in the hardest of times, read on. Here are 10 methods successful people employ to push through adversity and bolster themselves.

1. Find your sense of humor to help manage adversity

Many will say that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is your body’s way of managing stress, releasing pent-up tension, and resetting your brain to be more positive. A hearty laugh releases endorphins and dopamine – aka nature’s feel-good chemical.

Find Humor to Manage Adversity

It may feel impossible to find anything funny when you’re struggling with a heavy blow in life. However, sometimes simply stepping back and seeing the humor in a situation can help lighten the mood. Laughter is an essential first step to help you best manage adversity and move forward. You may not chuckle while dealing with an intense setback, but give yourself time. Discovering humor in the face of adversity is a healthy way to establish resilience.

2. Prepare mentally in order to manage adversity

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once stated that he was always “prepared for the worst, but hope(d) for the best.” These words couldn’t be more true in order to best manage adversity. Furthermore, they continue to inspire people more than 185 years later. Preparation in this case means planning for the worst-case scenarios and how you would respond to them.

What would your plan of action look like if a crisis were to strike? Running through potential disasters on a regular basis builds mental strength and flexibility. Doing so helps one overcome mishaps or catastrophes in real life. This doesn’t mean that you should dwell on negative possibilities. However, if the worst happens, having thought through your response will prevent you from panicking and best manage the adversity. Furthermore, it won’t feel frightening since you won’t be caught completely off guard.

3. Take stock of all the stuff you’ve already been through

There’s an old saying that what doesn’t kills you makes you stronger. The challenges you’ve been through can give you confidence that you’re capable of managing any adversity that comes your way. We’ve all faced adversity. How did you overcome those challenges? What got you through them? Your past experiences can help you find your inner strength and resilience.

4. Adversity offers invaluable insights into how to manage adversity

Adversity is a phenomenal teacher. This is your chance to gain meaningful insights. You can truly learn from your mistakes. In doing so, you’ll have a better chance of success next time. However, in order for this to work, you’ll have to engage in some self-reflection. The focal point of your self-reflection needs to hone in on figuring out where & how things went wrong.

Take a deep look at how you planned -did you miss something essential. Consider your preparations – were you ready for the challenges ahead? Look at your execution – did you put in a steadfast effort? Focus on the things that you can control and ask yourself what more can you do next time. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban once said “with every effort, I learned a lot. With every mistake and failure, not only mine but of those around me, I learned what not to do.”

5. Make peace with the situation at hand in order to manage adversity

Find Inner Peace to Manage Adversity

Now is definitely not the time to point your finger and blame others for what happened. Wallowing in self-pity and feeling sorry for yourself will not do you any good either. In fact, it can actually sabotage your ability to come up with solutions and charge forward. It’s essential that you consider what mistakes you might have made.

Take some time to process what you could have done differently and take responsibility for your actions. Make peace with what happened. Accept the situation for what it is and move on. Steve Jobs once stated, “sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs

6. Embrace adversity as a chance for opportunity

Life is full of adversity, struggle, and growing pains. However, it’s through these difficult times that we learn the most important lessons in life and become more resilient. In most situations, adversity provides opportunities we might otherwise miss. These opportunities present a chance to dig deep and face these obstacles head-on.

Hard times present you with a chance to alter your course or discover a new method to overcome this hurdle. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, framed it as follows, “every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” The true secret to success is the ability to embrace adversity as a chance to change ourselves and our situation…better yet, improve ourselves and our situation.

7. Refuse to give up (without being stubborn)

In order to best manage adversity, you must fully commit to finding a way forward. It is essential that you approach the problem with determination and motivation. Doing so will create a mindset where you view adversity as something to overcome and solve. The last thing you want to do is perceive adversity as something you passively accept and endure. There are certain dilemmas and hurdles that provide a chance to develop alternative paths. These same situations also provide a chance to dream bigger and take larger leaps than you ever imagined possible.

Never Give Up

No matter what you do, you cannot give up. Basketball legend Michael Jordan once famously stated, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life – that is why I succeed.”

By refusing to give up, you will go further than you ever imagined – even when you need to manage adversity.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

8. Have a purpose

When life throws you a curveball, it helps to have a crystal-clear vision of why you’re doing what you’re doing. It is essential that you have a purpose and are passionate about your goals. In doing so, you’re more likely to find the motivation to keep pushing through until you achieve success. Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. This can totally destroy any sort of momentum you may have going at the moment. However, if you’re working towards something meaningful to you, you’ll always find a way to regain your momentum.

When something is important to you, you’ll find the drive to continue pursuing your dreams. Take Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, for instance. First and foremost, he was a pro when it came to managing adversity. Furthermore, FDR is the first (and only) American President to serve four terms. During his presidency, FDR developed the New Deal to counter the Great Depression and guided the nation as we entered WWII. However, the real accomplishment is that he did so having been paralyzed from a bout with Polio. This was an extreme obstacle to overcome since physical presence played a critical role in public perception for politicians. If you’re looking for some inspiration, then you best read up on these 12 individuals who overcame extreme adversity.

9. Keep a positive mindset

A hearty dose of optimism goes a long way when you encounter a less than ideal situation. I’m not big on clichés, but sometimes the darkest of clouds really do have silver linings. That being said, developing a positive mindset is an essential skill to master when managing adversity.

It’s true that you need to be realistic and view a situation clearly. However, if you frame every situation in a negative way, you’re bound to only see the bad. It is vital that you try to cultivate positivity and refuse to let pessimism and naysayers get inside your head.

Positive Mindset

10. Believe in your capabilities

Individuals who recover from adversity being by believing they are capable of finding a way forward. If you feel hopeless and powerless, then you will likely fail to rebound.

You must have self-confidence and a strong belief in your capabilities to overcome difficult times. You need to be open-minded and willing to leverage your talent, know-how, and ingenuity to overcome adversity. If you need some inspiration, look to Walt Disney. He was fired from his first job for not being creative enough!

Disney never stopped believing in himself and in his dreams. He went on to establish the Walt Disney Company, a multinational mass media conglomerate. Disney once commented, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

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