Life doesn’t always go as planned; sometimes bad things happen. Part of us feels like sh** shouldn’t happen to us, a belief that often ensures we stay stuck in the situation. We may not be able to control events, whether deemed good or bad, but we do have control over our response to a situation.
What matters in the end is how we respond to events in our life. Some people crumble after good fortune. Some people thrive after a setback. Yes, thrive! It’s all a choice.
There are great resources* to help find ways to improve resilience and bounce back after adversity. I strongly rely on my strength of Perspective. First, I ask myself “what’s the worst possible outcome?” trying to be as realistic as possible. Framing the situation in that light allows me to start planning for the worst. The advantage of this strategy is that by doing so, I can see that I can dig myself out of even the worst possible scenario though I might feel feel as if I’ll be forever stuck in this deep, dark forest.
Even more importantly, I ask myself: How might this turn out to be a huge blessing? What lessons might I learn? How might I grow from this challenge? Where can that growth take me? How might I find gratitude for this event? How can I turn my competitor into an ally?
I recently watched the movie Akela and the Bee. In the story, little spelling phenom Akela follows her heart and decides to let her main competitor win the National Spelling Bee since it was his last opportunity to bring home the trophy. He realizes what she’s done and, instead of accepting an unearned win, he asks her to bring her best effort. Next, they realize that if they support each other, they can both win.
That path forward out of a bad situation is not easy to find. The Judge in our head is often criticizing, complaining and whining, and keeps us stuck in a dysfunctional and destructive mentality. Instead, thriving requires that we silence the Judge so that we can hear the whispers of our heart and conscience that guide us to the path out of the dark woods into the light.
*Check out the The Resilience Factor. 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles by Reivich & Shatte.