It is a fact of life that the stronger we become, the harder we try, and the more successful we are, the more difficult circumstances we are sure to encounter. The key to dealing with difficult and unexpected events is to have a strategy to recover, flex, and grow in the face of trying times.
The first step to growing from difficult circumstances is relinquishing control in your minds for those things we can’t control. While we hope for the best and plan for the unexpected, there is no way that we can anticipate every contingency. Most of our life and everything that other people do is out of our control.
Unfortunately, many people’s first reaction is to rail against the forces of nature. “Why did this have to happen to me?” And we say it with real anger and offense as if the universe is conspiring against us to make our lives miserable.
In reality, this emotion is the same as an obstinate child and does nothing to serve our growth. Instead, it focuses a massive amount of emotional energy hating that which has already manifested.
We counter this by relinquishing control to a higher power or the impersonal universe. Things are going to happen, so we might as well smile and laugh when they happen.
I discuss more when it is appropriate to take responsibility and when we need to let go in my previous article:
Committing to the Process over Outcome
The most significant mistake people make that hold them back from success is being addicted to results. This problem is magnified when we encounter tough times because we see our hopes of work dashed against the rocks of fortune.
Usually, challenging or unexpected circumstances mean we will need to do a lot more work than we initially anticipated to reach our goals. Those of us stuck on the need for results will give up in these moments.
The key to thriving in the face of challenging workloads is to identify yourself with the way you work rather than the results you achieve. Pride yourself in —
- Never giving up
- Working harder than everyone else
- Leaning and growing no matter what
- Acting consistently and methodically
People who are happy to be in the work they find themselves in are guaranteed 1000 times the success of those who give out little in the hopes of achieving much.
An ungenerous mind will never achieve exceptional results.
Throw Away the Excuses
As difficult times progress, it is natural for sad stories and excuses to come to our minds. This absolves us of blame and, even better, makes us the tragic victims in our tale of woe.
In my work, I find many people who live entirely in tales “poor me” and feed of this energy that assigns a virtue to being the most downtrodden. While this is an easy way to avoid growth, avoid effort, and avoid responsibility, it only serves to keep these people stuck in the mire of mediocrity.
Allow no excuses to leave your lips. Take the high ground of pushing yourself until you find your limits, which are 40 times greater than what you think they are. And when you try your absolute best and still don’t succeed, admit you found your limit with humility and try to do even better next time.