adversitySeven Keys to Overcoming Adversity

Adversity is like a hurricane. It destroys everything in its path except that which is indestructible, leaving us with the ability to see the truth about ourselves.   Adversity defines what we are really made of.  It can make you better or bitter. T.D. Jakes says “A setback is a setup for a comeback”! You can overcome adversity and allow it to make you stronger, wiser and more empowered.

Being a recovering alcoholic/ addict, an ex-offender, domestic violence survivor and former prostitute can have its drawbacks.  But instead of allowing the circumstances of my past dictate my future, I decided to allow it to provide purpose and passion for my life.

I want to share with you seven keys that I have utilized in my life to overcome adversity and to become a thread of hope and a beacon of light for others to follow.

1. Don’t Let Your Past or Current Circumstances Dictate Your Future: Problems and circumstances are normal; everybody has and will face adversity in life.  You have enough on your plate for today, don’t add to your distress by remorse for the past or fear about the future.  Tomorrow is your destiny. Hold on to your hopes, beliefs and values.  Envision victory.  Keep focused on your purpose and vision, saying I will never give up.  That makes it possible for you to get through any adversity you are facing because you know that your dream is bigger than the present circumstances you are experiencing.

2. Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem: Formulate the habit of finding a better way; continually set higher goals.  Stop doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Avoid the comfort zone “This is how we have always done it.” Stop focusing on what is wrong and begin to focus on the positive.  Look at what you do have and how you can utilize that to the best of your ability to help yourself and others.  When the world gives you lemons; make lemonade!!!

3. Have an Attitude of Gratitude: Focus on what you can improve, your reactions, confidence and attitude.  Make a gratitude list and refer to it daily.  Be grateful for what you do have, not what you don’t.

4. Persist No Matter What: Endure discomfort and refuse to quit. Typically, losers are those people who didn’t realize how close they were to triumph when they gave up.  There is a story about a man who was stranded in a blizzard.  He had walked for miles and gave up.  They found him frozen to death 20 yards from shelter.

5. Find Value in Your Circumstance: You are a diamond in the rough.  A diamond is nothing more than a cold, dark hunk of coal.  It is useful in some ways, but it turns to ashes after it is finished producing.  A diamond is formed when the coal undergoes tremendous pressure and heat. Under those defining circumstances the molecules change and coal is transformed.  But it isn’t until it is cut and polished that the facets are visible.  Just like a diamond, every adversity you go through in life that applies pressure and momentary darkness can help to increase your value. Right now, there are people going through the same types of situations that you are going through. The things that you learn from your adversity can help others get through their own difficult circumstances.  Why not turn what you have learned into a profitable business?

6. People, Places & Things: If you are the most successful person in your crowd, you need a new crowd!  Water rises to its own level.  You should surround yourself with people not only who you can help but, with also people who can help you through the tough times in life. You were never meant to do everything by yourself.   Let go of your pride; isolating yourself in times of adversity is one of the worst things that you can do.  Stay away from places that drag you into negativity and remember the best things in life aren’t things. Don’t try to avoid pain by wrongful means, escape or inappropriate conduct; it always comes back to bite you in the butt.

7. Encourage Yourself – Maximize your full potential: Encouragement is another weapon in your arsenal against adversity.  Prepare yourself for battle; take time each morning to spend in reflection and meditation with God.  Don’t be so hard on yourself, love yourself and encourage yourself to move forward by doing the best that you can.

Rehearse your future as you see it:  Create a mission statement of what you believe.  Successful people move toward the words they speak and the images they create in their mind.

Learn to be encouraging to others, even in the rough times, speak kind and positive life changing words.  The difference in you being happy or miserable comes from the words within your heart

And Remember:

  • Adversity builds character, resourcefulness, courage, perseverance, and self-discipline.
  • There is strength in overcoming.
  • Appreciate how much you do have, just look around the world and you will find others worse off.  Fill your heart with moments of thanks and that leaves little time to complain or play the victim.
  • Live like this was your last day on earth, you will be amazed how much joy you will derive from relationships.
  • All things are subject to change!!!

Originally posted June 12, 2012