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It’s becoming more and more understood that adversity is the foundation of your success. Let’s take that one step further, adversity can be the platform to propel you to your success if you learn how to use it.
If you stay there, if you don’t learn from adversity, and use your struggle as a “stick to beat yourself up with,” you will always have a reason to not change, grow or simply do things differently. That’s the key, your ability to do things differently starts with your ability to think differently and here are the steps you can use to make the most of the adversity.
1. Recognize the lessons
This might make you think, “surely there aren’t any lessons in this.” When you’re struggling, the hardest thing ever is to think positive and you’ll tend to make life very difficult for yourself. By focusing on the lessons first, you acknowledge the fact that things aren’t going great now, but there may be some lessons here that you can learn from.
By doing this, you don’t try to completely flip your way of thinking, you simply meet yourself where you are in the moment, then change your perspective. Whether it gives you the opportunity to be patient or prove to yourself how strong and resilient you can be; looking for the lessons is the initial push to get the ball rolling.
2. Recognize the good
Feeling the momentum shift and helping yourself see more good in the situation you’re in encourages your mind to give you the “feeling good, acting good, loop.” This is how you begin to gradually make progress towards your goals and take your lessons you’ve learned to improve on your past.
You’ll start to let go of the struggle and realise that most of the pain was because of how you saw it. It likely won’t be dramatic, but it’s about shifting your way of thinking that causes you to improve because of the situation you’re facing. Rather than stay stuck because of it.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive feelings don’t typically last long; spending some time with them, long enough for them to sink in, will help cement in the progress you’ve made. It’s all too easy to brush over this but feeling grateful is something that would come easier to you after the previous steps. It’s easier to think positive about things if you’re already in a “good place” mentally.
The actions that you take when you’re tired, anxious, and/or stressed are very different to when you’re happy, excited or grateful. One you’ve shifted away feeling like a victim of your circumstances, you can start to see different paths you can take.
4. Change direction
“What direction do I go down?” is very common for you if you’re in this position. Very often it’s getting clear on this that stops most from ever really changing. It’s not the desire to change, it’s not the will to change, it’s being able to answer the direction question.
If you’re wanting ideas for what you can do, listening to how others do things is fine as long as you understand that what makes you happy will be slightly different. If you start to stray from your own path, you might find yourself feeling disconnected and possibly even “lost.” You will need to make some difficult decisions, possibly even make some people unhappy, to be able to go back to living your own life.
“Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.”
5. Take the simple steps and build on it
You’re likely feeling more ready than ever to attack this new direction full steam ahead; but, you start to worry, wondering if you’ll make this work. That’s completely natural because it’s unknown, uncertain and not knowing can cause you to be on the edge of action.
Wanting to know all the steps, being in the research and planning stages can overwhelm you and make it far more complicated than it could be. As you can probably tell, this is more of a mental game than simply taking action. You can be caught making things complicated, adding things in that you don’t need to confuse you, and make you feel like it’s an impossible task.
These are things you do to make sense of what’s going on, but they do slow you down. The way to think about this is doing “what you can, with what you have” given how clear you are right now. Very often, it’s taking action that helps you get clearer on the next steps, throwing bits of new information in as needed.
It’s about progress, moving forwards, and the biggest waves are started with the smallest ripples. But as long as you stay in the adversity or let it keep you stuck and struggling, that is where you’ll stay. You’ll make much faster progress than you think once you get moving with these steps.