How to Overcome Adversity and Find Success
By Chris Savage // Reliable Strategies Inc.
Failure and Adversity
Failure and disappointment are very real.
They hit you hard when you least expect it and they have the power to destroy you.
But with the right mindset and strategy you can overcome your failures and use them to your advantage.
This article is about overcoming YOUR adversity and finding YOUR success.
What is Adversity?
'Adversity' is when things are going against you.
It’s easy to skip through life and be “positive” when things are going your way.
But when adversity hits you, when something you put your heart and soul into flounders inexplicably, when everything seems to be going against you... how do you respond?
Different Types of Adversity
There are different levels of adversity you can experience throughout your life.
What defines the extent of your adversity is how you perceive and handle your problems.
Also your belief in your ability to over come them.
How you respond to your adversity depends on the meaning you give it.
Losing money in the stock market could be mild adversity if you have more money.
But if you lose your entire net worth the adversity is more sever.
Many of the biggest traders and investors have lot their fortunes at some point in their careers.
They respond in a way that allowed them to come back and be more successful that ever.
Not getting the marks you want on an exam can be a mild adversity.
But if that mark determines your eligibility to enter a profession the failure is more sever.
You can fail at a subject to go on to find your true calling.
At some point in the future you'll look back and be glad you failed that exam.
In most cases you will determine the level of adversity of the setback you're going through by how you perceive and respond to it.
Adversity is Unavoidable
That doesn’t mean life can’t be a beautiful experience. Life is what you make it.
But as long as you’re alive adversity and failure will be a presence in your life at one point or another.
Once you accept this you can better deal with it when it comes.
How to Deal with Adversity
When adversity hits you, you don’t have any choice but to deal with it.
You have within you the ability for overcoming adversity and dealing with failure.
The human species is genetically programmed for survival.
When adversity comes calling your spirit kicks in and you find a way to handle it.
Adversity Teaches You
You either deal with adversity and failure or you let it destroy you.
Sever adversity like loss or personal horror can destroy your heart, soul, mind and spirit.
People are a lot stronger than they think.
It’s not until you’re pushed – forced – through adversity that you discover who you are.
How you respond to tragedy and adversity reveals your true character.
How to Survive Adversity
1. Think Short Term
Don’t project too far into the future.
Don't create scenarios in your mind that cause more pain and overwhelm you already have.
Thoughts like “I’ll never be happy again”, “my career and my life are over” can make a bad problem much much worse.
Stay in the present and deal with what’s right in front of you.
Don't indulge in imaginary scenarios that might happen in the future.
They might not happen. Things might turn out amazingly well for you.
You just never know.
2. Stay Strong and Think Before You Act
Be a source of strength to yourself and the people around you.
You’re likely not the only one suffering.
How do you want your friends, family, and children to see how handle your adversity?
Respond to failure from a position of power rather than victimhood.
Tap into the strength you have inside you and the resolve to overcome and come back better than before.
3. Let Your Adversity Challenge You
Serious adversity creates initial shock.
But once that shock subsides your brain starts processing the experience.
You’re now in a position to choose how you will respond.
The best option is to use your experience as fuel.
Fuel for you to engage with life more than before the adversity hit you.
Fuel to strengthen your character and solidify your self-identity to as a victor and not a victim.
Fuel to give more, love more, do more, and become more.
Your Power is How You Choose to Respond
The concepts of success and failure mean different things to different people.
The meaning you give an experience determines what it becomes.
A relationship break up can be a failure (“it didn’t work out”) or a success (“A new chapter of my life has begun!”).
Losing a job can be a failure (“I don’t have a job anymore my life is a disaster”).
The same situation can be a success (“that wasn’t my passion anyway and I wanted to leave this job so they've done me a favour).
You can always benefit from your adversity in some way.
Your Definition of Success and Failure
The definitions of success and failure vary depending on your belief system.
Is your current belief system an automatic download from when you were too young to know any better?
Have you ever questioned what you've always considered to be true?
You can adopt a belief system that empowers you and allows you to be your real self.
It takes the decision to do so. You always have options.
How to Keep Going When You Feel Like a Failure
Feeling like a failure at times throughout your life is normal.
It’s naïve to think that everything will work out perfectly and you will never have to deal with personal failure.
If that’s your model of the world, you need to start rethinking it.
Expect failure. Embrace it and dance with it.
Be ready for it and feel confident that when it comes you’ll handle it in the best way you can. You will respond to your advantage.
What Can You Learn?
The purpose of failure and adversity is to teach you something.
If you can apply introspection and situational analysis when you're experiencing failure you’ll be amazed at what you can learn about yourself.
Failure is Temporary
If you’re experiencing failure it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means your human.
It's ok to be a regular flawed human being.
If you’re failing in the same area of your life repeatedly it’s time to take a look at yourself and your actions.
What are your beliefs and pattens of behaviour in this area of your life.
'Cause & Effect' is the most powerful force in the universe.
Everything that happens in your life has a specific cause.
A specific set of circumstances, actions and behaviours that created it.
There is a correlation between what you do now and what you'll have to deal with in the future.
Cause and effect.
Never Call Yourself a Failure
Self-identifying as a failure “I am a failure” puts you on a one way road to your ultimate self destruction.
Your self identity determines how you think, how you act, and the opportunities you take and don’t take.
The people you put yourself around and the standards you set for yourself.
What you are willing to tolerate from people. Your goals and objectives.
All these combine and determine the direction your life will take.
Overcoming Your Adversities
Here are some things you can do when you’re experiencing failure and adversity.
Obviously the nature of the adversity and your current circumstances will determine your course of action.
But the following steps will give you a good place to start.
1. Ask Yourself Honest Questions
Failure highlights your weak points and causes you to look within.
Your deficiencies reveal themselves and you start asking questions.
The answers you receive will be a path laid before you that if taken will allow you to grow and progress way beyond where you now are.
2. Keep Going
Once you've had time to look at the adversity and learned from it, get back in the game.
Some things take longer than others. But you can’t let failure knock you out of the game.
Take time if you need to. Mourn, recover, repair.
But be sure to come back. Come back harder than ever before.
3. Take Responsibility
Overcoming failure and adversity means taking responsibility.
Responsibility for how you contributed to what happened.
Responsibility for deciding how you'll respond.
To a great extent most personal failures and adversities come about from our own doing.
Or at least we've contributed to them in some way.
In this sense we do in fact create our own reality.
4. Use Adversity to Make Your Life Better
Somewhere buried in the darkness of adversity is a gold nugget of opportunity.
You might see it right away. It might take some time. But it is there.
From this point forward, how will you do things differently?
How will you use your adversity to make your life better?
Success and failure depend on how you respond to your adversities.
Best Quotes About Overcoming Adversity
"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing" – Henry Ford
"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit" – Napoleon Hill
"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour" – Truman Capote
"I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you’re good at" – Louis C.K.
"You have to be able to accept failure to get better" – Lebron James
"A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new" – Albert Einstein
Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you’re not innovating enough. – Elon Musk
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life" – Muhammad Ali
"Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up" – Thomas Edison