Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~African Proverb
I am sharing this article from my other personal development blog, Personal Success Factors.
I came across this article that spoke eloquently to this key success factor. The recession has made many of us feel stretched, with higher bills, layoffs all around, shrinking 401K's, and so forth. It's at times like these, that we must take stock of all our personal assets so that we can recover a sense of abundance and prosperity even in the toughest of times.
The first way to achieve a high return on adversity is to give thanks. Make a list of things to be grateful for in your life. Instead of noticing all the material things you don't have, make a list every day of the things you do have. Get your focus off of the negative, and re-focus on the positive.
The second way to achieve a high return on adversity is to intentionally identify and practice character strengths. First, list out some key resilience character strengths in your journal: creativity, courage, kindness, persistence, optimism, gratitude, humor, spirituality. When planning out your week, put one of those virtues at the top of your list for the week, then add it to your daily list. Use that virtue/character strength as a resilience work out for the week.
For example, if humor is one of the character strengths you want to develop, look for ways each and every day to either laugh at something, find a worthwhile joke, or look for the lighter side of life.
A third way to achieve a high return on adversity is to find hope on a consistent basis. In her article on resilience, Ms. Chin quotes hope researchers Shane Lopez and C.R. Snyder, who have defined hope as our capacity to: 1) dream up goals; 2) create specific strategies for accomplishing our goals; and 3) generating and sustaining the momentum to carry out those strategies. You can actively catalyze hope daily by reviewing your dream/visions/goals, writing down your Sacred Six, and taking at least one action daily toward the achievement of your most important goals.
Create positive emotions by scheduling positive experiences. When going through adversity, our optimism quotient and levels can start running low. It's at times like these that we must "fill up the gast tank" Consider this great list of 183 different activities that you can add to your daily to do list. In fact, do this: Add one per day to your list, and take note of how you feel afterward. Another way to create positive emotion is to make a list of your favorite movies or music. Take time to listen to a powerful, uplifting song, or to watch an inspiring movie.
Achieve high return on adversity by taking care of your physical reserves. One of my goals this year, which I will achieve on June 6, 2009, is to run my first 5K. I have noticed, as I have exercised on a regular basis, that my stress levels have gone down as I have been able to release endorphins through consistent aerobic training. I am much more resilient mentally and emotionally when my body is getting the exercise it needs, particularly for someone like myself, who works at a sedentary job most of the day.
Finally, you can achieve a high return on adversity by reaching out. Reaching out means asking for help. Reaching out means being able to admit that you are struggling. Oftentimes, it gets in the way of our pride and ego to actually share how we are feeling, particularly if we are feeling down. Balance reaching out withgiving out. Give out by taking actions of selflessness toward the most important people in your life. You can also give out by serving those who are less fortunate, either through your church or through a charity.
Don't waste the opportunities that adversity brings your way. Job, a man in the Old Testament, who went through innumerable hard times spoke about God as follows: "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." (Job 23:10) You can meet the test of adversity and achieve a high return on adversity by giving thanks; intentionally identifying and practicing character strengths; getting into physical shape; scheduling positive experiences; and by reaching out and giving out as we relate to others.