Two ways to respond to set backs

We were made for the struggle. Exposure to struggles, setbacks, and adversities can steel us to function better than expected with future challenges. Helen Keller, no stranger to adversity, wisely said “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” It is similar to an inoculation that gives us the strength to resist future exposure to a disease.

There are two ways to respond to adversity, setbacks, and losses. You can either survive or you can thrive. In other words, you can be weak or strong; in stagnation or movement. The choice is yours. Two people can be laid off from work. One will start his own gourmet popsicle company (true, by the way) and become successful, the other will wallow and be paralyzed by self-pity. The circumstances are the same, but the responses are wildly different.

Why is that? Well, the difference is RESILIENCE- the capacity to feel competent in the midst of setbacks and adversity; to bounce back and thrive from life changing times. Or as I say, to be “one tough cookie”. Diane Coutu in an exploration of resilience in the Harvard Business Review pointed out that:

“More than experience, more than education or training, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails”.

How are you going to respond to the challenges, changes, and setbacks in your own in life? Are you going to give in or get up? Giving in is easy. It’s the getting up part that’s hard.

Getting up from and not giving in to tough times will strengthen your resolve for life. You will garner persistence and accomplish things you never knew you could.

What are you experiencing right now that is a struggle, set back, challenge, or an adversity in these challenging and swiftly changing times? Maybe you are the owner of a company who is seeing profits drop and the bank account deplete. You might be an employee fearful of being laid off. Maybe it is the unrelenting pursuit of aging that’s tough to come to grips with. Are you a manager that agonizes on how to energize employees and fire up commitment in an atmosphere of low mood and morale? Becoming a parent creates its own challenges. Maybe a poor grade on a college entrance exam is getting you down. It could be an ingrown toenail that’s bugging you.

This little book is intended to help you bounce back and thrive no matter what-to find success at work and significance in life. It is here to assist you to get up one more time than you fall. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything—they just make the most of everything they have. That’s not just syrupy drivel, but the god’s honest truth, and it’s resilient.

The really good news is that resilience is not necessarily an inborn personality trait, but a set of skills and attitudes that can be learned. It’s not relegated to only the extraordinary few. It’s what Anne Maston calls “ordinary magic”. In other words, you already are amazingly capable to bounce back, with untold reserves deep in your heart, mind, and soul that need to be unearthed and unleashed. Tapping into it leads to improved relationships, new possibilities, new strength, and a new spiritual fortitude. Presto!

How have you responded to setbacks? What lessons did you learn? Respond here>>

Posted in adaptation, Attitude, Behavior, Change, Core Abilities, courage, crisis, Hope, Mental Wellness, mind set, perseverance, Persistent Adaptation, resilience, stress, success

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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