Overcoming adversity

Some days ago, my seven-year-old son was playing tennis with my husband and me. He’s such a good tennis player for his age; however, as soon as he missed his first shot, he fell apart. He stopped trying and began missing every shot, even easy ones. He was sabotaging his own efforts and searching for reasons to quit. He stopped going after the ball out of fear that he would miss it. He was his own stumbling block. It was painful to see him that way.

I told him, “Don’t ever give up because that’s why some people begin drinking in excess and taking drugs; they’re sabotaging themselves out of fear. I know it hurts; I’ve been there myself many times, and I lost many opportunities because of that.”

This tennis game didn’t have much consequence; however, the habit of self-sabotage begins with losing simple games like this. We feel a pain, one that’s invisible, and there’s no simple button to turn it off. So we give up trying.

When I read books about successful athletes or people who became millionaires and were able to hold onto their fortunes, one thing is clear: you can’t win if you don’t have the heart to go through adversity.

A friend of mine committed suicide. I felt sorry that I wasn’t able to help him back then. I can recall our conversations and remember that the pain in overcoming adversity was unbearable to him.

This pain feels as if we’re engulfed by an ocean wave and caught in a riptide. When things aren’t going our way, we could potentially feel defeated, sinking in feelings of worthlessness. These emotions result in missed opportunities, depression, bad decisions, and addictions.

However, at any given moment, we can change, we can shift our perception. That’s what’s known as a Miracle. When we decide to completely shift our perception and put all our energy and intention into this change, success is almost inevitable.

I’ve been blessed with miracles in my life. One miracle was when I got sick with severe panic attack disorder, and somehow, instead of sinking, I searched for a cure. I read, attended seminars, and took responsibility.

At another time, I got divorced and lost my job around the same time. Somehow, I shifted my attention to the light of the way out, instead of the dark hole I was in. That was a miracle.

I used to blame my overweight on my genes, and I seemed doomed to never lose weight. However, one miraculous day, I bought a book on self-discipline. I believed it, applied it, and the miracle happened. I lost weight and really like who I am today.

I’ve been writing blogs for a while now. Some years ago, I gave up blogging because a couple of people unsubscribed. It was devastating to me, but then a miracle happened; I didn’t give up writing, and I never will.

I realized that everyone doesn’t have to agree with me, and I shouldn’t take it personally. If they don’t agree with me, that’s just their particular point of view at a moment in time, and they’re entitled to it. I’m just glad that this blog is being read by those who have a serious interest in progress.

From these and other experiences, I’ve learned the following lessons from adversity: Taking Responsibility, Applying Self-Discipline, Patience, Focus, Self-Care, and Progress Mindset.

How to overcome adversity?

• Open to the miracle of shifting. Replace whining, with focus. A professional baseball player who strikes out doesn’t cry; he tries to find out why he struck out.

Ask yourself, why did I lose? Why did this happen? Detach from the drama and see it objectively. What can I do better? What technique do I need to learn to avoid failing next time?

• Realize that the ability to overcome adversity requires some training, and, as with every practice, it will become easier every time. Just keep on going in spite of the pain, until it’s pain-free.

• Focus on your positive traits. For example, I’m smart, I have a college degree or taken many classes before this, or I’ve done this during my training and know I can do it again.

• Always look for the positive. What good can I learn from this? As a speaker, I had made many mistakes early on. I felt terrible, but I asked myself what I could do better next time. I became an experienced speaker through trial and error.

• Set short-term and long-term goals. I can attest to the power of goal setting. Focusing on your next short-term goal is like climbing a fixed ladder that will get you where you want to go.

• Have more than one plan. Having options will help you remain hopeful and provide alternative routes to success, should your first attempt fail. Make a list of all possible solutions to your problem. Writing down potential solutions will make them feel more tangible.

• Refuse to give up. In the midst of the storm, you feel like throwing in the towel. However, for my experience, I can say that if we stick to our goals in spite of the pain, once the storm passes, it just gets better, and we remain with a feeling of satisfaction.

Finally, you need to understand, overcoming adversity is for winners.

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