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Overcoming Adversity

Have you ever noticed how sometimes bad luck and trouble keep cropping up? It’s like they go together, and when you start experiencing one, the other is never far away. When you have a run of bad luck, one problem after another comes to find you. Before you can get one issue resolved, several more arise and you feel like you’re in a downward spiral of problems on top of problems. When you feel this cycle taking hold, it’s important to realise they are nothing more than events happening in your life to give you the opportunity to respond and learn from them. Overcoming adversity is an important lesson that we must all learn.

It can be a lot to deal with, and when you get dragged into the cycle it can be extremely difficult to change your situation. Trouble perpetuates trouble and the more you focus on the problems, the longer you’ll stay bogged down with them. But you can change it. You can release yourself from the quagmire. Although it may seem difficult at the time, coming out the other side a better person is your reward for the hard times. Knowing how to deal with things better and more efficiently in future is something we can all look forward to, if we choose to face our challenges and rise above them.

Focus On The Positive

It may seem obvious but the more we focus on something, the more that thing intensifies. If we focus on our problems all the time, we’ll get more problems. If we focus on being unhappy, the more unhappy we’ll become. So, if we choose to look at our situation and choose to see it from a different perspective, it makes sense that we can expect to receive more of that perspective around the issue we are experiencing. How would it feel to start viewing misfortune as opportunity?

When you take a new approach to break down the bad times into what they really are. If you decide to view them just as happenings in your life, you’ll find that the intensity of the problem is drastically reduced. This will help you to be able to see the solutions that weren’t so obvious to you before. When you look at it in a different way, you’ll be more open to alternative ways of solving the problem and achieving a positive outcome. You’ll feel capable and ready to deal with any other situations that may appear.

Change Your Perspective

Your ability to disconnect from the predicament is key. By choosing to see the problem as no big deal, you give yourself the opportunity to analyse it with a critical eye. This gives you the chance to shift your outlook and your direction to finding the right solution. And generally, the correct solution turns out to be one you would never have considered, had you stayed stuck in your old way of thinking. Problems are also an excellent information gathering exercise. Once you’re equipped with all the knowledge from the challenges you’ve faced, you’ll find it easier to avoid problematic situations in future.

We all have to go through painful or difficult experiences at some point during our lives. Overcoming adversity isn’t easy but it’s well worth the discomfort, and you often learn some valuable information about yourself and your development along the way. Start noticing how you feel when things go wrong. Do you still feel like the end of the world is about to happen when you meet an obstacle? Are you able to take it in your stride? As long as you’re making continuous improvement, it doesn’t matter how small those improvements are. Keep going, keep learning and keep shifting back to a belief of “I can handle this, it’s no big deal”.

Time For Change

About five years ago, I challenged myself to find a new job. I wasn’t happy in my current job, and I felt like it was time for change. A change in job, salary, and prospects. I had been job hunting and interviewing for a few weeks when I was invited to attend an interview in a nearby town. I prepared as much as I could and had practise meetings with the recruitment agent that represented me. On the day of the interview I was feeling confident, prepared, and ready. I set off early with plenty of time to drive the seven mile journey. Knowing I would have time to spare when I arrived, to go through my final checklist before checking in with reception.

Life Has Other Plans

However, providence had another plan for me that day. I was about three quarters of the way there, when my car decided it wasn’t able to take me the whole way. It coughed and spluttered and lost power. Finally giving up completely about a mile away from my destination. This had not been in my plan at all. It was unbelievable that my car had broken down on such an important occasion. I had never had any problems with it before. I had hoped it would get me to my destination so I could deal with the problem after my interview. Now I was a least a mile away and I didn’t know what to do. So, I did what most people do when unexpected things happen, I started to panic.

I panicked for what seemed like a long time, but after a few minutes I managed to calm myself down enough to gather my thoughts. Although I had allowed plenty of time for my journey, I hadn’t factored in having to walk the last mile or so in heels, through an area I had not visited before. It seemed as though I had no choice, so I left the car at the side of the road and started walking. And just because the universe obviously had a lot to teach me that day, it happened to be a beautiful August day. One of the hottest days of the year.

Find another Way Around

I was a mess. It was so hot; I was sweating buckets inside my business suit. The lining of my dress was sticking to me as I walked, and I was making slow progress in my heels. But I carried on walking, and I reminded myself that it could have been raining instead, which I think would have been much worse. Eventually I reached the building where the interview was taking place and was pleased to see I had arrived with ten minutes to spare. I took a couple of minutes to compose myself, and tried to make myself as presentable as possible before checking in. I had made it in time.

Surprisingly, the interview went better than I had anticipated during my walk. It wasn’t a total disaster. I had calmed myself enough to give a strong interview. Pleased that I had managed to pull it all together at the last minute, despite my journey turning into an expedition in sub-tropical temperatures. The breakdown service was called on my walk back to the car, and after a short wait I was on my way home.

An Opportunity To Learn

As it turned out, I didn’t get that job. I got one that was more suited to me a week later. When I reflected on this eventful day sometime later, I realised that although I didn’t get the job, I had learned something so much more important. I learned that no matter what life throws at you, you always have a choice. You have the choice to let it throw you off course and derail your whole life. Or, you have the choice to acknowledge the obstacle in front of you and look for another way around. If I could conquer the fear and panic I felt in that moment, and still get myself there and perform well in the interview, I knew I had the power within me to deal with any problems that might appear in future.

Sometimes when an obstacle blocks your course, it’s the universe’s way of diverting you to something better. It may not always seem like that when it’s happening. But when you look back on it, you’ll see that the detour you were forced to take because of that obstruction, was actually a steppingstone to something so much better than you ever thought possible. Try to shift your outlook so you start seeing obstacles as diversions to something better, somewhere better, or an opportunity to see how far you’ve come on your self-improvement journey.

Final Thoughts

Overcoming adversity can be easier if you view the situation from a place of “what am I being upgraded to?”. Rather than “oh no, the worst is happening”. Start seeing your life as a consistent flow of improvements and you’ll soon learn to deal with any disappointment, difficulty, mishap, or disaster that crosses your path. When you live with the expectation of always being upgraded to something better, no matter the circumstances, your life will become a reflection of your inner state.

When disaster strikes remember to keep calm or calm yourself down as soon as you can. Then you’ll be able to evaluate the problem and establish the best and worst case scenarios. Decide what is acceptable to you, what is the outcome you want to achieve at this point? Next, make an agreement with yourself that you will do whatever you can to achieve this, given your current circumstances. Finally, stop dwelling on what has happened and put all your energy into your new plan of action. When you look back, you’ll see how much you’ve grown and how much you learnt from the experience.

If you think you’re ready to let go of the struggle and start seeing your life as a series of upgrades, why not apply for our private coaching? We have a couple of spaces for new clients starting in September. If you think this is for you, apply here




Ruth Cunningham is a mindset and success coach and the founder of Up and Up Life. Ruth helps women build the confidence they need to go after their dreams and live a life of freedom and independence on their own terms. Her primary focus is on empowering them to identify what is holding them back and giving them practical tools for success.