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Rise Above

Written by Celine Wallace

Photo by Jacqueline Pilar

The last year has been almost exclusively defined by adversity. Yet, can we thrive instead of survive amid a difficult or unpleasant situation? You may find comfort in knowing that, without a doubt, hardship can be spun into evolution in four practical, simple steps.

Adversity comes in many forms—from physical, mental, emotional, and social, to spiritual, or financial. Amidst these varied hardships, there is solace in the fact that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all fall on hard times at some point in our life. Whether small or big, looming or present, or some stressful combination of all, adversities tend to pile up until we feel overwhelmed and allow it to affect everyone.

It is important to note that you could not possibly have become the person you are today if you did not have to contend with adversity on your way up. No matter how intelligent and careful you are, life will attempt to interrupt your natural path. It is only by facing these difficult situations that we are forced to grow into our strength and handle them. This becomes an opportunity to move toward greatness. Rarely do we step into our power through an easy life. We evolve predominantly when times are taxing.

When considering your situation, it is essential that you mitigate your mindset. The starting point in dealing with any difficulty is to relax. Clear your mind. Get yourself into a calm enough headspace to control your emotions and senses, allowing you to become as objective as possible. Once you are able to step back and detach from the problem, you can clearly analyze your adversities as if they are affecting someone else.

Step One: Define the problem clearly

What exactly is the problem? What exactly are you worrying about? Write out the definition of your problem. Make sure that it's a single problem. If it's more than one issue, write out clear definitions of all the problems that together constitute what you are worrying about.

Step Two: Determine the worst possible outcome

Ask, "What's the worst possible thing that can happen in this situation?" Be frank and honest with yourself. You might lose money, relationships, customers, or something else important to you. If everything fell apart, what is the worst thing that could occur?

Step Three: Resolve to accept the worst

Having identified the worst possible outcome, you now can go through the mental exercise of accepting that it will happen, no matter what you do. The remarkable thing is that as soon as you stop resisting the worst possible outcome, you'll relax, your mind will clear, and your ability to deal with the situation will improve dramatically.

Step Four: Improve the worst-case scenario

Begin immediately to improve upon the worst possible scenario, which you are resigned to believe will happen. Throw all of your mental resources into the battle to minimize the problem or resolve the difficulty. Concentrate on the future. Try not to worry about what happened, why it happened, and who was responsible. Ponder only the question, "What do I do now?" How can you minimize the consequences? What's the first step you can take? And the second step? And the third step? And so on.

A primary task in our existence is to gain dexterity in dealing with adversity. The most successful people on the planet are not people without life's problems. The difference is in your reaction to such issues. Successful people respond quickly and positively to their problems. They troubleshoot in advance; they anticipate conflict. When this is impossible, the four-step method resolves whatever difficulty one may encounter.

With the above strategies, you may cease surviving these situations and instead begin thriving. Focus your thoughts on where you're going, not on where you've been. Making sure to keep your eyes on your goals, your head up, and your chin tilted upward toward the sunshine, realize this is just another opportunity to achieve greatness, which is what awaits you on the other side.


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