5 Steps To Become Resilient When Life Gets Challenging (video)

I don’t know about you, but I love learning about people’s success stories – particularly those of individuals who have risen to fame from humble beginnings. We tend to look up to these people and think how easy their life must be and often times we discount the challenges, mistakes, and failures they needed to overcome to get where they are today.

Along my journey, I’ve learned that one of the character traits that most successful people have in common is resilience, which is defined as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. So where do you get resilience from? This varies from person to person, but it usually comes from what motivates you the most – be it your goals/dreams, your work, your family/relationships, yourself, or your influencers.  It can also come from your desire to build a better life and avoid the hardship encountered in the past.

Having experienced quite a few difficulties and challenges in my life so far (loss of a parent at a young age, financial hardship, starting over in a new country, underemployment, etc.), I’d like to offer some advice on building resilience, from my personal experience – so here are the 5 steps that help me recover from setbacks and keep going:

1. Having a strong desire or a big dream. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a powerful “Why” and knowing exactly what you’re working towards, regardless of how long it takes. This is not a simple wish or a mere hope, but more likely an ‘obsession’ to see your dream become a reality. Without it, you’d be like a ship that is set to navigate the oceans without a GPS or a captain and crew to control it. Even if it manages to get out of the harbor, it’ll most likely sink or wind up somewhere on a deserted beach, because it doesn’t have a destination or clear direction.

2. Analyzing the situation from a pragmatic standpoint. You cannot change the past, the economy, or anything that has led to the problems you’re facing. Moreover, you have little control over other people or circumstances. However, what you can control and change is the way you perceive the situation, how you respond to it and what you decide to do moving forward. The faster you move through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and begin to recognize, acknowledge, and accept the reality of the situation, the better. And that’s because when you stay oblivious or live in denial, things get worse – quite fast. In other words, recognition and acceptance is the only standpoint from which you can start anew.

3. Focusing on the solution, instead of the problem. You have to learn to manage your emotions, keep calm and evaluate things practically, so you can make a plan and act. Emotions are triggered by thoughts, so when you’re facing challenges, regardless of their nature, it’s easy to get caught up on a negative emotional swirl of anxiousness and worries, go into a “fight or flight” mode and imagine the worst possible scenarios. However, focusing on the problem actually tends to create more problems. Instead, focus on finding possible solutions and always keep in mind that it’s a better option than the alternative, and the only way to move forward.

4. Believing that things will get better. It’s widely known that life is cyclical, everything is temporary and nothing is permanent – either good or bad. When you acknowledge this, challenges become more manageable. Just because you don’t see a resolution yet, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, it only means that YOU don’t have all the required information or resources at this point; keep researching, keep learning, and don’t give up – or to quote a former United Kingdom prime minister:

If you’re going through hell, keep going. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

5. Taking action. Start taking action toward your dreams one step at a time, with what you currently know and have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – however, don’t do it randomly, but rather strategically. Be careful whom you’re sharing your dreams with – everyone is not a good idea. A wiser strategy is to share them only with like-minded people, who’ve already achieved a high level of success, believe in your potential, and can help you advance in that direction.

In the end, I’d like share with you the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree, which I find truly inspiring – and hope you’ll feel the same, too!

Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. ~ Anonymous

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