We’ve all heard the phrase “Life is unfair.” Whether from a parent, teacher, or relative, odds are you’ve heard these words offered to you as a means to alleviate your pain in hard times. While it is technically a true statement, finding solace in such a phrase during your low points in life is a waste of your potential. Life is unfair, but that should go without saying. As soon as you verbalize these words, they become your impairment. Consider a child who fears a monster in his closet at night. He is afraid until his father turns on the light and walks into the closet to prove there is no monster. The trembling and fear that the child experienced from a fabricated monster were absolutely real, but as soon as his focus shifts from the imaginary back to reality, his nerves will settle and he will be able to fall asleep. As adults, we commit this very fallacy of being overwhelmed by the unknown instead of facing what is directly in front of us. Luckily, there are tactics you can apply to keep your mind grounded when your life takes a nosedive so that you aren’t consumed by your own monsters.
Don’t dwell on the things that are out of your control
The first step to leverage your bad situation is to stop questioning the things that are out of your control. Don’t question why you got laid off, why you got sick, why you lost a relative, why someone betrayed you, why you got rejected, or why your car broke down. There are either a million reasons for these events, or no definitive answer at all. Focusing any attention on the things that you cannot change will send you in a downward spiral into insanity. Remember the ‘life is unfair’ condition. Assume that all the negative things happening to you would have occurred sooner or later, so accept them and focus on the new reality laid out before you. Once you can welcome failure and adversity as a natural part of life, you become unstoppable.
Focus on the things that you can control
Even if every bone in your body is broken, and the only thing you have control over in your life is your breathing, set out to take the most calculated and hearty breath that your lungs can manage at each passing moment. No matter how much you lose, there is still at least one thing you have control over as long as you are alive. So, when times get tough, consider all the talents, abilities, opportunities, and resources that you do have. Write it all down if you must, to materialize the hidden gifts that you still have. Once you have accounted for every useful asset in your possession, get to work in utilizing those resources to rise out of your current situation. There’s always a way out if you look for it.
Ask yourself “how can I use this situation, instead of letting it use me?”
Each passing moment is a fresh opportunity to take control of your life. All that it takes to initiate progress is a change in perspective. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. You must train your mind to see adversity not as a pressure holding you down, rather as an upward force that can propel you forward. Realize that each time you take a hit in life, it strengthens you. Each blow you take is another hammer driven nail reinforcing the foundation of your character. You can either focus on the pain and go down with it, or you can use the virtues that the pain has reinforced in you. We only suffer as much as we allow ourselves to. You have a choice. The “woe is me” attitude in miserable situations is the easy and effortless thing to do. Anyone can wallow in their sorrows. What takes real effort and courage is fighting to gain leverage on your climb up the walls of the valley you found yourself in.
failures, setbacks, and tragedies are unavoidable. When they inevitably fall upon your shoulders, you have an important decision to make. How you handle hardships will define not only your character, but it will pave the way for the rest of your life. You can allow the pains of life to drag you down, or you can roll up your sleeves and get to work. With a perspective shift, you can even turn your negative situation on its head to fuel your progression in life. The choice is yours…