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The Best “You” Ever:
Overcome Adversity and Live Your Dreams

By Valerie Greene

While no one expects adversity or enjoys experiencing it, the fact is that challenges are a normal part of life. From a job loss to a divorce, a health challenge to a natural disaster, adversity comes in many different shapes and sizes. However, it is not the actual situation that causes people turmoil; rather, it is the way we react to the adversity that makes the situation stressful. Consider this: Two people working in the same department with similar education levels and skill sets get laid off from their job on the same day. One moans and groans about how unfair life is, worries how he’ll pay the bills, feels like a failure, and is forced to settle for a new job that pays less. The other believes that “things happen” in business and doesn’t take the job loss personally. He knows he’ll find an even better job that pays more…and he does.

You may wonder how two similar people facing the same adversity can have completely different outcomes. In reality, their outcomes were the same. That is, they both believed a certain outlook on life, and that outlook became their reality. So if you think of an adversity as something negative to be feared, then you’ll create a negative experience. However, if you view an adversity as a time for change and rebirth, then that’s exactly what you’ll enjoy.

Unfortunately, the majority of people fear adversity because they’ve heard messages their entire life of how difficult challenges can be: a job loss might lead to financial ruin, a divorce might leave you lonely and bitter, a negative health diagnosis could make you weak and feeble. Realize that you don’t have to buy into these negative messages. You can decide what you want your outcome to be. How? Use the following tips to guide you:

1. Erase the negative programming: Don’t let anyone else’s experience influence your current situation. If you hear other people’s “war stories” of how awful a job loss is, for example, then you’re likely to think the same thing will happen to you. And if you constantly tell yourself, “I’m not going to get through this,” then you won’t. That’s why you need to stop those negative messages as soon as they start.

Be like a courtroom judge. When the judge hears someone on the stand say something that’s pure conjecture during testimony, she tells the stenographer to “strike that statement from the record,” and then tells the jurors to “disregard what the witness just said.” You need to do the same thing to yourself. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, cancel that statement. Give yourself the same power you give everyone else—the power to influence your thoughts and create your outcome.

2. See yourself beyond the adversity, successful and happy: Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” His words are so true. When you’re in the midst of an adversity, envision where you want to be, even if your vision seems unrealistic. See yourself beyond the challenge. When most people are in the middle of an adversity, they only see themselves as they are during that set point in time—in the middle of their challenge. That is, they see themselves as unemployed, as sick, as divorced, etc. But you need to look beyond that to what you want to achieve.

Realize that whatever situation you’re in is temporary and it will pass, no matter how bad it may seem. When you envision what’s possible, you quickly discover that adversity actually propels you to move to the next level. It’s a catalyst for change that allows you to re-invent yourself or your life circumstances. Adversity prepares you for something better.  

3. Surround yourself with visuals of your dreams: In order to keep your mindset positive so you can envision your desired outcome, cut out pictures and phrases of what you want or of how you want your life to be. Post those pictures and phrases in a prominent place so you can see them every day. Despite the usual advice of “get over it and move on,” overcoming adversity involves making the situation pass. The old saying of “This too shall pass” should really read: “This too shall pass…if you let it.” You let situations pass by being proactive during them and working towards a goal you can actually see.

The pictures you post can be of anything meaningful to you. For example, if you’ve been told you’ll never walk again, you may post pictures of people running marathons or of the dream car you want to own and drive. If you lost your job, you may use images of successful working people to guide you. If you just got divorced, photos of happily married couples could prompt you to finally find Mr. or Ms. Right. Decide what images you find motivational and inspirational and use them to see you through any trying times.

4. Decide to change your outcome from ordinary to extraordinary: Why be average or mediocre when you can be spectacular? Most people don’t know what is really possible. They don’t realize that they have the power to change their life. So when a doctor gives a bad prognosis, or when an employer enforces a salary cap, they accept the circumstance as “just the way it is.” In reality, you can always do better.

Go beyond what the normal or average is. If you don’t like the situation you’re in or the prognosis you’ve been given, don’t buy into the belief that you can’t change it. We all have the power to overcome adversity and find ourselves in the middle of something extraordinary. We simply must decide to believe we can.

Your Future Awaits: Adversity is part of life. The key is not to get hung up in it. No matter what life challenge you’re currently facing, realize that you possess the power to overcome it. Granted, sometimes it takes what seems like a long time to discover that power and implement it, but once you do, anything is possible. So go ahead …push through the fear, spark the flame of greatness that’s deep inside yourself, and never allow anything or anyone to extinguish your fire within.

Read other articles and learn more about Valerie Greene.

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