Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity. Stephen Covey
Yesterday, my entire first half was invested in empathizing, sympathizing and everything else in between with few of my team members, who were hassled for reasons very common to the consultancy side folks. Small or big, we all have some or other irritations and frustrations in life, not everything goes as we want. We encounter obstacles, face delay in achieving what we want or encounter a sudden misfortune. Such is life and honestly, there is no escape, though you will be advised by many pundits that, ‘you just need to get away from what’s making you unhappy,’ but it is easier said, than done.
Sometimes these issues seem to be so daunting that we happen to take unnecessary drastic steps. We don’t realize that most adversities are short term, and wrong moves in such times can prove expensive later. I am not trying to be another pundit, but from experience, here are few things you can try to build resilience, as you look for long term solutions.
1. Seek opportunity in adversity:
The feeling of being stuck is awful, however, these are the situations that teach us to be smarter and stronger. Bad client, a bad boss or bad circumstances can act as a gift for us, it teaches us what not to do. It will force us to find solutions, which we would otherwise not care for. In our domain, best PR lessons are learnt from the most difficult clients, best relations are built in times of worst corporate reputational crisis. Respect the situation and turn it into an opportunity, remember that tough times does not last forever.
2. Chop those problems into pieces:
I am not talking about the people but the problems you are ceased with. A big issue is a series of small issues, if dissected well, you will be able to solve one at a time and soon you will realize that the problem has vanished. A problematic client or boss might have multiple reasons to behave the way they do. Identify those and try to resolve one at a time, it may be as simple as how you approach them, the ideas you present or just how you present. If you can sit back and think thoroughly, you will be able to change things and turn them into your best advocates.
3. Be creative:
I understand that at the height of adversity, emotions take over, logic finds itself in a difficult spot, but hold, this is the time to think creatively. Being creative is not always about being an artist, but thinking of a solution that is not easily visible. Stop trying to change things you cannot, find a work-around.
4. Change the plot:
If you are obsessed with talking only negative all the time or wanting to prove to the world how stressed you are, believe me, you will never be any better. We always like to see our problems or issues bigger than anyone else’s. Blessed are the people who say, “duniya mein kitna gum hai, mera gum kitna kum hai.” Change your storytelling, instead of telling the world only about your problems, share how you changed, what new you learnt, how better you feel etc.
5. Breathe in – Breath out:
Not literally, but learn to let go. Being calm in all situations can be practised and over time you can master it. If you are calmer, you can never go wrong with your response to any adversity, most of the times we increase our problems but responding in a wrong manner. Take a break, listen to music, watch comedy, write, read, do anything that will stop you from remaining obsessed with your issues all the time. Gautam Buddha once said, ‘Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.’ Many amongst us have found a new lease of life when the entire world is fighting the pandemic. From the confines of their homes I know many who have rediscovered themselves. Do you have a story to narrate?