Loving adversity: the secret to success

Loving adversity: the secret to success

Whether you find obstacles in your career, studies, or personal life, adversity has the potential to be a powerful catalyst:  it can make you strong or render you helpless.  Ultimately, your approach to facing adversity, and your response to unexpected outcomes, is a deciding factor in whether adversity will propel you forward or stop you in your tracks.

“No one escapes difficulties.  Setbacks may have the power to temporarily derail your journey, the aim at Boston is to get people to see them rather as gifts in the form of a learning experience. This gives our learners the opportunity to create empowering beliefs and recommit with greater determination in order to achieve their goals,” says Natalie Rabson, counsellor at Boston City Campus.

Natalie shares 5 key strategies to leverage the power of adversity for your greatest success.

1. Loving the negative association

“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience,” says author Mark Manson.

While it is easy to fall in love with our end goal, we need to travel the journey to reach it. And the journey may have bumps, hardships, even failure. It is unrealistic to think that there’s a direct path to getting to that destination of success.

“From the outset, we have to know that there will be hard moments, difficult exams, and problems.  Focussing on one step at a time, for example, one module at a time, enables you to manage each challenge instead of feeling overwhelmed by the big picture,” says Natalie.

2. The Obstacle is the Way

While obstacles may appear threatening, they can also be the very thing that catalyse our growth.  The pandemic has been a huge obstacle, but some have turned it into a lucrative opportunity. Others have changed the direction of their business 180 degrees. Hotels in Cape Town were offering drop off laundry services, catering, and work stations for daily rental.  Choosing to see each outcome or event as an opportunity to learn and develop further, makes you a stronger person.

3. Power of Inversion

Inversion is a practice of thinking the opposite of what you want.  It may go against common sense but highlighting mistakes and issues you want to avoid bring inciteful wisdom into what not do along the way. Seeing this another way, imagine the worst that could happen, then go for it. You’ve already faced the obstacle in your mind, and if failure happens, it won’t come as a shock and it won’t feel so bad.

4. Learn to love the “Nos”

“You can achieve virtually anything you want–if you’re willing to hear ‘no’ often enough,” says Andrea Waltz, co-author of Go for No! While it is human nature to want to avoid the rejection associated with “No”, the fact is that hearing a ‘no’, brings you closer to getting your yes – be it for the job, the relationship, or the life you want to have. No’s should hopefully motivate you to work harder and achieve more.

5. Take action

Former Canadian professional ice hockey player, Wayne Gretsky said, “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Forget about telling yourself all the reasons why adversity is holding you back from going for that job, that relationship, or that degree; if you don’t try push past the setback you will never know what’s possible.  And even if Plan A doesn’t work out, you will probably learn how to do it better and apply it to Plan B, C, D ….continuing to take action down the line until you achieve what you want.

“Encountering adversity may be inevitable, so you need to choose how it will dictate your actions”, says Natalie.  “Expect adversity, use it to alter your course or behaviour, and continue towards your goals”.