Recently, as part of a global summit, I was asked, “What’s your #1 tip for coping with adversity?”
This is how I answered the question.
My #1 tip for coping and overcoming adversity is provided by my favorite wisdom poem:
Watch your thoughts, your thoughts become words
Watch your words, your words become actions,
Watch your actions, your actions become…
First the thought. Think about this:
Everything is temporary in the affairs of humans, so avoid undue depression in adversity and undue elation in prosperity. Or as the favorite inspirational reminds us – this too shall pass. Let’s hear the words one more time, this time from William Shakespeare (Macbeth):
Come what may
Time and the hour runs through the darkest day.
Next, the word.
Imagine someone extremely close to you, extremely close – a sibling, wife/husband, dear friend, son/daughter – comes to you for advice because they are being battered by adversity. What advice would you give them? Think extremely carefully. Then…offer the same advice to yourself. Say it, aloud, clearly, once, twice, thrice, as many times as it takes for you to rise.
Finally, the action.
The ultimate goal when confronted by adversity is to get our feet moving again – rally ourselves to keep walking, even though we can’t see through the fog of despair and dark clouds and tears. We must lace our shoes and resume walking. All other choices are infinitely inferior. In the words of the soulful southern hymnal:
We cannot see in the future,
but walk on by faith each day.
Good luck. We can’t live through life walking on mountain tops alone. But walk we must, regardless of the adversities life chooses to throw at us.