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6 Proven Strategies to Overcome Adversity

Frustration and Adversity

I’ve reinvented myself several times throughout my life, and like everyone else, I’ve had to deal with adversity (death of a parent, unfair treatment at work, bad relationships, etc). Yet I’ve managed to get stronger over the years. What’s my secret? Thinking myself to success. The only thing I can control is my thoughts and reactions, so here is how I stay focused whenever adverse conditions come my way:

Strategy #1 – Believe You Will Get Through It, and Things Will Get Better

Having this belief focuses my attention on taking action to eliminate the adversity as opposed to remaining inactive, which exponentially increases the impact of the adverse conditions. As Jack Canfield says in his book The Success Principles, constantly ask yourself, “What’s the opportunity that this is?” When you approach every challenging situation as an opportunity, you start to treat it like an opportunity instead of a roadblock. One of my favorite quotes from the book is by Napoleon Hill – “Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” The key is to have positive expectancy and belief that you will get through it.

Strategy #1 Summarized: Doubt blocks options. Belief always creates opportunities.

Strategy #2 – Control Your Thoughts, and Eliminate Limiting Thoughts

When you focus on solutions as opposed to the problems, you act differently. Remember, you cannot use the same thoughts that got you into the tough situation to begin with. You have to change, and the first place change has to happen is in your thinking. When you do, amazingly you will act your way out of the bad situation.

Strategy #2 Summarized: I CAN creates opportunities. I CAN’T creates irrelevance.

Strategy #3 – Be Clear About What You Want, and More Importantly Be Clear About What You Don’t Want

There are only 3 outcomes from any adverse situation:

  1. Things get better
  2. Things get worse
  3. Things stay the same

Take note that only one of the three outcomes will help you overcome adversity. It is critically important to determine what thoughts, actions, and influences will ensure things get better because without thinking this through, you are likely tolerating and settling for things that, by default, are making the situation worse or reinforcing the status quo. By defining these, it will allow you to identify the appropriate actions that need to be taken to ensure things get better.

Strategy #3 Summarized: Invest in that which reaffirms you. Eliminate that which devalues you.

Strategy #4 – Rely on Your SUCCESS TEAM

In Change Anything, the authors point out that one of the six key influencers in our lives are the people we allow in our inner circle. They help to determine our view of what’s normal. In that vein, a requirement of overcoming adversity is to have people in your inner circle who have a habit of success. As such, I have a few trusted people I can turn to who will help me get through whatever I am dealing with, and I do the same for them. If you don’t have a SUCCESS TEAM, you increase your odds of failing to overcome adversity. Who should be a part of your SUCCESS TEAM? At minimum, you should have:

  • The Mentor
  • The Coach
  • The Realist
  • The Connector
  • The Supportive Significant Other
  • The Industry Expert
  • The Cheerleader
  • The Best Friend

You can read more about these 8 roles in my blog on How to Build Powerful SUCCESS TEAM, so remember, without a supportive team to help you, you greatly increase the pain and suffering from the challenges you will inevitably experience.

Strategy #4 Summarized: Success is never a solo act, and you need a SUCCESS TEAM to help you figure out the right sequence.

Strategy #5 – Focus On Getting Better

Adversity is nature’s way of indicating a need to make a change. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, and often times, our habits (recurring ways of doing things) are the root cause of our adversity. Anyone who has ever tried to break a habit knows it can be difficult. So rather than beating yourself up for the mistakes you made, look for the recurring habits that likely led to the decisions that resulted in the undesirable outcome. This can require some real soul searching. It is also the best place to use your trusted SUCCESS TEAM because you may have to accept the need to share and be vulnerable with them in order to receive the help you need. Then you can focus on getting better. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and you will need to make better decisions in the present and the future. Converting undesirable habits into value added habits requires you to take small steps every day…to get better.

Strategy #5 Summarized: Changing persistent and recurring habits always involves learning new skills – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switler.

Strategy #6 – Avoid Temptations That Will Derail Your Success of Beating the Adverse Conditions You Are Facing.

Staying the same is not an option, so doing the same things is also not an option…unless you want the same results. Look for the social and environmental influences that reinforce the habits that put you in potentially compromising situations. From my work as a Behavior Based Safety expert, I know bad habits and poor decision making are always reinforced by those around us. The only person you have control over is you, and as a result, it takes serious self control to stop doing what got you into the undesirable condition(s) to begin with.

Strategy #6 Summarized: Temptations are clear and plentiful when your visions of success are limited and blurry. Keep temptations at bay by religiously using every waking moment to build the habit of thinking and acting your way to success.


I’ve learned through tough life experiences how to deal with adversity, and more importantly, I’ve learned how to avoid making decisions that will likely result in adverse outcomes. Prevention is critical, so think and act your way to success by planning for, preventing, and overcoming adversity.

If you or your organization is struggling to overcome adversity, contact us. We can help by providing proven strategies to work your way back to success.


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Great summary, Too many people don’t realise that they have the power to change and a lot of times it means stop doing all the stuff that is keeping them from moving ahead. Change does not happen over night but think about the times where a year or two can slip by on a goal. I slipped on running a Marathon and doing a PMP Certification for a couple of years so I just decided to pay for a race entry and the test certification 3 months in advance. That really made me focus on those goals and complete them. You always have some great advise and tips so thanks for sharing your time and experience.

I thank you for the interesting topic.

Thank you Makenzie for the kind compliment! Your comments and feedback are sincerely appreciated, and please do feel free to share the article with friends and colleagues who may find the tips useful. Thanks!

It is always beneficial to visit your blog.

Thank you so much for the compliment and testimonial! I appreciate your regular readership very much.

Best Regards,


That was a interesting point to write about. Thanks for the info.

Thank you Barry! I’m glad you found the article helpful. Visit often as I publish a new article on Sundays (unless my schedule is too hectic to get one published, which happens from time to time). Thanks, and take care!

Best Regards,


This was an awesome blog post, thank you very much for the information!

Thank you! Although I’ve written many articles since I wrote this one, it remains as my favorite. I sincerely appreciate your kind words. Thanks again, and do visit and provide your input and feedback.

Best Regards,


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