We all go through difficult times. Maybe you are going through one right now. They never last forever. But when we are going through them it seems like they will. Our enthusiasm fades and our efforts seem to have little positive impact. Our thoughts drift toward defeat and loss of control and our feelings move toward despair, fatigue, anger or fear.
Going through difficult times is an unavoidable step in anyone’s path to success. We all have doubt-filled moments. How we handle those situations can be the difference between mediocrity and long-term success. A key to being successful is learning to be resilient. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from failure and persist even when it seems impossible to do so.
Some people are naturally resilient. Others who may not have been that way naturally have learned skills to help themselves be more resilient
Here are some tips for being more resilient:
- Recognize and understand what is happening. Be realistic in your assessment. Look at your situation with perspective. What factors and circumstances are contributing to your challenges?
- Recognize and correct thoughts and attitudes that lead to demoralization. You may be perpetuating the problem by negative self-talk. Thinking “If one more thing happens I won’t be able to handle it,” is not helpful or accurate. Instead think “If one more thing happens I might be even more frustrated, but I will take each challenge as it comes and work through it.”
- Be willing to review and question the assumptions you make about how things should be done. In challenging times our unexamined assumptions may blind us to opportunities that are all around us. For example, are you assuming that you have no control or influence over your problems? If so you will give up too soon and miss the opportunity to be a part of the solution.
- Manage your stress. Recognize that stress distorts your perception of risk. The distortions lead to a judgment that the circumstances are awful. Stay focused on the next important decision rather than getting caught up in panic about things that have happened in the past or that have not yet happened. To achieve resilience, step back from the stress and pressure of the moment and make judgments more calmly and with greater clarity.
- Realize that the situation is not impossible. Develop a healthy optimism starting with a realistic assessment of your situation. Remember that you can make a choice. Your choices influence your outcomes. Never give up. Persevere.
- Keep perspective. See mistakes as an opportunity to learn. You will be a smarter, more experienced person because of the mistakes. The learning will help the next time the situation arises. When going through difficult times we have a tendency to narrow our perspective and focus. To be resilient, step back and take in the whole picture.
- Practice these skills. You become proficient at what you practice. If you worry and fret about small details, you get good at worrying and fretting. If you practice the skills of resilience, you get better and better at being resilient.
Being successful in life is challenging and not necessarily an easy journey. But hey, if you always take the easy way out, you probably won’t get the success you deserve anyway. Nobody said life had to be easy, but it can be challenging and FUN. We all go through difficult times. They never last forever.