I’m sure you face times in your life where you think the world is transpiring against you. Maybe it’s a dark, dismal and rainy day. Possibly your car wouldn’t start and you have to take it to the auto shop. All the family appears to be coming down with the same illness. Whatever the case, adversity and the challenges that lie in facing it build your character and help you to stride head long into your problems so that when you have to deal with a monumental crisis, you won’t fly the flag of fear but instead set sail for hope.
Even when the chips appeared down in my family life, we seemed to find a way to make it through. The 1980’s was a time where the job market changed from previous generations where you would stay at the same job for a lifetime to companies arranging to downsize or look to foreign countries to save money- and I remember my father having to pound the pavement to look for new work after decades at the same company. He didn’t let any shortcomings stop him- he had a goal to support his family and off he went to his strengths within the supervisor and wood working realms.
Today with the unemployment rate very high, I watch families pull together to make do with what they have, however small and tight their money may be. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for places where they don’t want to completely automate the job I’m doing with technology. When it comes to phones and computers and alarms, you do need some technology to do the work- but for the most part when it comes to problems and solving them, humans can use critical thinking and problem solving skills that a computer just isn’t designed to do.
I’m working more at becoming what W. Clement Stone first termed an “inverse paranoid”. Instead of looking at the world and thinking everything is against you, you take problems and turn them into solutions with a radical shift in thinking. Let’s say you got a speeding ticket. Instead of getting mad and upset at the police officer for citing you, you shift your thoughts into believing that this ticket was for your safety and the safety of the people driving around you, so that now you’ll be alive much longer by slowing down and getting the chance to see your grandchildren dance at their weddings. It’s taking a potentially unsafe or negative situation and putting the power in the hands of what will this be teaching me to react positively for the future so that the events will play out differently.
Whether it’s digging yourself out of a hole financially, repairing a lost friendship, grieving over the loss of a loved one, or something that appears to be very challenging going on in your personal life- remember there’s always another tomorrow to help you rise above the adversity and begin seeing the new day from fresh eyes. Seek out help from all sources- get out that book you’ve been meaning to read to gain that new skill, register yourself for that college course, find that friend or expert in the field of study you wish to know more about. Don’t allow the victim mentality to consume you- there’s always a way to solve a problem as long as you look at it long enough and ask the right questions.
Make your children also come up with some of their own solutions when they bring problems to you. They need to learn the skills of self-reliance and seeking out advice but ultimately taking in that critical information and honing it down to their best course of action. They need to realize that there will be tough choices to work through in their lives, and sometimes the easiest solution may not necessarily be the best. As we exercise the adversity muscle, we become stronger to handle whatever situations or curve balls life may throw at us.
When one door closes, another door opens- and if you think you have a tough life, there’s usually someone you know who’s much worse off than you. On those days, look back at your victories and remember a time when you clawed and scratched your mind and body to achieve something you didn’t believe was possible. If you’ve done it once, you know you can do it again and again and again.