No matter how hard you try (or maybe because you try so hard), you are going to come up against adversity in your life. Being forewarned is being forearmed, as they say, so I invite you to commit to memory the following 5 R's of Dealing with Adversity.
However, I want to first show a huge chunk of gratitude to Mr. Stephen Hopson, the individual who originally asked me to write about this. Stephen has a great blog called Adversity University and he started a project where he asks other people to list the ways that they deal with adversity.
It's a great project that I personally endorse, and I think if you learn a bit more about Stephen himself, you'll be even more impressed with his formulation of this idea.
You see, Stephen Hopson is deaf, yet he has overcome every obstacle that has been put in his path, and in the process has become a very accomplished speaker, author, and consultant.
In addition to a wonderful career made up of speaking to and motivating others about subjects such as passion, enthusiasm, and the use of intuition, in February 2006, Stephen Hopson became the world's very first deaf instrument-rated airplane pilot.
Yes, that means that even though he can't hear, he can fly an airplane. In fact, he does a great job of it, and recently completed a flight from Akron, OH to Hartford, CT with one passenger, and then made the trip back all by himself!
Stephen is one amazing individual and one of the many people that I am proud to have gotten to know during my time in the blogosphere. I encourage you to read more about Stephen at his main site, called Obstacle Illusions, or check out his blog, Adversity University.
In the meantime, I couldn't be happier about participating in the group learning experience that he started, and I encourage you to check out his original post, and to participate on your own blog, following standard tagging concepts for all participants in order to spread the Link Love.
Now, without any further adieu, here are my own 5 R's of Dealing with Adversity:
1) Remain Calm – I listed this one first because it was the first thing that came to mind that I personally struggle with from time to time. I am about as strong-willed (a.k.a. stubborn) and as passionate as they come when I truly believe in what I am doing or saying. That is a personality trait that I am very proud of, but it can also get in the way when other people do not agree with me. Remaining calm and practicing good emotional mastery is a necessary first step for me.
2) Remain Vigilant – This falls directly on the heels of #1 because getting control over your emotions will do you absolutely no good if you turn around and lose that control 5 minutes later! During an argument, debate, or negotiation, you must always be on the lookout for your own emotional turbulence to toss you right out of your chair. By remaining constantly aware of your feelings, you will ensure that you control them, rather than falling victim to them.
3) Respond, don't React – If you are passionate about whatever you are doing or saying that has caused you to bump heads with somebody else, that same passion that fuels your desire can also fuel your undoing. This especially comes into play if you are in an argument with someone that you care about. They know how to push your "hot" buttons, and your ability to respond to what they say or do, rather than react, can sometimes literally mean the difference between peaceful coexistence vs. irreconcilable differences.
4) Remember the Mission – As the old saying goes, "If you're up to your *ss in alligators, it's hard to remember that your original mission was to drain the swamp!". The more stressful, frustrating, frightening, or confusing a situation gets, the harder it is to stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Don't allow yourself to get so caught up in the process of coming to a resolution that you forget that finding a resolution is the primary goal, not winning the debate. Anyone who is married and reads this will know exactly what I am talking about…
5) Reconcile – Us ex-military members call this the "after action review". It is the process whereby you go back over what was said and done in order to better prepare you for similar situations in the future. By learning from adversity-filled circumstances in your life, you will be much better equipped to get a positive result out of a similar situation later on. Here is a classic example from my own life:
When your friend is betting on pool for money in a bar full of people you don't know, do not encourage your friend to "take it outside" so you and him can defend his honor when someone tries to cheat him out of his money. 17 stitches in my head later, I realized that bar-room brawls are a lot more fun on TV!
That wraps up my 5 R's of Dealing with Adversity, and again, I encourage you to check out Stephen's original post and to participate on your own site. Everyone deals with adversity, so the more we all know about better ways to do so, the better off we'll all be!