All of us know that life is not without it’s difficulties. The good news is we always have a choice about how we respond to difficulty. There are four ways human beings respond to hardship only one of them shows true resilience.
1. Quit, give up, or drop out
Winners quit and quitters never win.
When some people encounter an obstacle, challenge, or problem they throw up their hands and give up. Giving up can be done in several ways but regardless of how it is done, it is still quitting. Sometimes the response is to become so depressed, hopeless, or unhealthy that they simply refuse to participate in life. Other times it may be to develop severe addictions that make them unable to function. A smaller percentage of quitters literally give up and commit suicide. No matter how these individuals choose to quit, give up, or drop out they have a detrimental affect on the people who love them. Even the most energetic and optimistic person in the world would have a hard time helping someone who has given up.
2. Lose ground
When looking from the outside some folks appear to just “go with the flow.” These are the people that react to adversity by pretending nothing has happened when, in reality they are overflowing with despair on the inside. They hold what’s really troubling them in and walk around like ticking time bombs. Their energy goes into reliving what happened to them and assigning blame. Of course that leaves them with very little energy to do anything to improve their situation, which takes them backwards instead of forward. Misery eats them from the inside out making them also quite likely to drop out of life.
3. Maintain “status quo”
Unfortunately some individuals manage to remain exactly the way they were before adversity struck. They were clearly affected by whatever happened, they just don’t know it. These clueless characters learn nothing from life’s difficulties and are destined to continue to make the same mistakes and take the same blows over and over again.
4. Gain wisdom and strength
Without imperfections, there would be no mistakes, without mistakes, there would be no way to learn and grow. Without learning and growing, life would have no purpose.
My father had a very simple but wise and supportive response every time I called him freaking out about some terrible choice or mistake I had made. He’d say, “Well I guess you won’t do that again.” When dad made that statement instead of berating me, yelling, or getting really angry I was always relieved. Then when I was calm, I could look at the situation see what I did wrong and prepare not to make that mistake I’m sure that by now you have guessed number 4 is the only truly resilient response. The rest can lead to a great deal of wasted time, energy and opportunity. Don’t be discouraged if you recognized yourself in numbers 1-3. Everyone has had at least 1 of those responses to something in their lifetime. Just know this; the most important word in this article is choice; you have one. No matter what the circumstances you can always use adversity as an opportunity to learn and grow.