What’s the best advice for dealing with adversity?

by admin on December 15, 2009

One-Minute Answer: Into every life comes events that create anxiety, set backs, or hard times. You may be facing adversity right now in your work, your education, your family, your finances, or in your health. The national scene can also supply bad news whether economically, sociologically, politically, or militarily.

At the same time, we are entering a very special season. Whether we look for the miracle of Christmas, the wonder of Chanukah, or merely a time of good will, it is a reason to turn our hearts to hope.

Those of you with a deeply rooted faith, have confident security to shield you from present difficulties in your life. Yet even if you have such protection, it is also good to keep your perils in perspective. That’s what you’re about to do with the help of philosophers, pundits, politicians, performers, practitioners, and poets. You’ll find it hard not to be encouraged and inspired. You’ll be of a mind to act more optimistically and enthusiastically after dwelling on their thoughts.

Five-Minute Answer: Here is some good advice about how to play the bad hands that life may deal you. A short comment follows each sentiment.

  1. In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. ~Robert Frost Next year this present problem won’t look nearly so awful.
  2. Grow into your ideals so that life cannot rob you of them. ~Albert Schweitzer Hold fast to your values and beliefs when in trouble and you’ll respect the you that comes out on the other end.
  3. Life is like a deck of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism. The way you play it is free will. ~Jawaharial Nehru How you handle adversity is your choice. You can let it destroy you or you can emerge a stronger person.
  4. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. ~General George Patton I wish I could have reported to him!
  5. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. ~Romans 8:28a What reassurance to know that even the worst that we experience is ultimately good for us! Our puny minds may not always discern that good, but we know it’s there.
  6. A dime held close to the eye blocks the Sun. ~John Updike Don’t permit the pain of a current crisis cause you to miss your much larger blessings.
  7. If I had my life to live over again, I don’t think I’d have the strength. ~Flip Wilson He was my favorite comedian. I can hear his hilarious delivery of this line.
  8. During my 18 years I came to bat almost 9,000 times. I struck out almost 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at-bats a season. That means I played seven years in the major leagues without even hitting the ball. ~Mickey Mantle When I’m frustrated by not making any progress in winning a new client that I’ve targeted, I rest on this perspective from the “Mick.”
  9. Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of our venture. ~William James The power of positive thinking is alive & well!
  10. A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner. ~English proverb My successes flatter me. My mistakes instruct me. My failures save me.
  11. So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success: if I persist long enough, I will win. ~Og Mandino Every time I read this quote I think of Kay, my mother-in-law, who through sheer persistence continually exceeded the expectations of her physicians for both the quality of life and the length of it.
  12. I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God. ~Helen Keller When we are humbled by some “handicap” a greater portion often comes our way.
  13. An optimist thinks this is the best of all worlds. A pessimist fears this may be true. ~Doug Larson How does your world view affect the way you represent the current times to yourself and to others?
  14. When I hear somebody sigh that “life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” ~Sydney J. Harris He’s stopped me from saying it.
  15. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians, 4:12-13 Practice this idea along with #5 and you’ll wear the armor of God’s protection.
  16. I am an old man and have a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~Mark Twain We worry about so much that doesn’t materialize. When misfortune does strike, it’s usually a complete surprise anyway.
  17. The true way to soften one’s troubles is to solace those of others. ~Madame de Maintenon A sure tonic for our troubles is to reach out to someone even more unfortunate. It works!
  18. Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes. ~Henry J. Kaiser There is advantage embedded in every adversity because adversity changes the status quo and thereby reveals new opportunity. We may have to work hard to reap that advantage, but it’s there.
  19. Man is not troubled by events, but by the meaning he gives them. ~Epictetus Even the most dire circumstances we experience would be seen as not so bad by some folks. If you consistently view situations more negatively than others, you may want to ask yourself, “Why do I do that?”
  20. There is always something for which to be thankful. ~Charles Dickens We all need to remember this and to reconsider the meaning of his epic opener to A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Do You Have a Favorite? Please share with me your best-loved aphorism about adversity.

Next Time: Ask Sam Deep will rest up during the 12 days of Christmas. We’ll back on January 6, 2010 with a curtain call. The question last week on leadership mistakes was one of the most popular we have ever answered. So with the help of some of your suggestions and by digging a little deeper into our own mental archives, we’ll offer a “dirty dozen” more blunders made by people at the top of their team. Look for “What are the biggest mistakes leaders make?”—Part II


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>