Published on August 27th, 2013 | by Daniel


3 Ways to Deal with Adversity

Everyone who has taken a risk in their lives has dealt with adversity. I might even say, if you have never faced adversity you might as well never taken a risk in your life. Or never lived in the first place.

In this light you could go as far as to say that facing adversity is a great thing. It means that you try something new outside your comfort zone. And it means to explore all your capabilities and beyond. Overcoming this adversity can give you the greatest feeling in the world.

That said, what to do when things do not go the way you really want them to go? Tackling problems head on is not always the best thing – it depends obviously on the nature and seriousness of the problem.

You can do a couple of things when you bump into an adverse situation:

1. Give up and go on
2. Push harder
3. Try an other approach

Now, you might say, the first answer – giving up – is not an option. But in certain cases it can be beneficial to stop and take a rest for the time being. Perhaps it is not the right moment. Giving up is not a very attractive option and certainly not what we prefer mentally in most cases. But sometimes you will have to take you ego out of the equation, look at it dispassionately, and try another time (or leave it be). This, of course, also depends on the severity of the adverse situation – how important is the problem really? For instance, you try to open a jar. But this jar can be malfunctioned, making it impossible to break it, thus is it better for you try open the next jar and leave this one be.

The second option, pushing harder, is much more attractive on first sight. You try an approach but you did not try hard enough. Go with more brute force. Sometimes you just did not try hard enough the first time. For instance, you try to open a jar but it won’t come up. In the next try you use more power and then, it pops open. This can be a blunt tactic but it works if you have the belief in it.

The third option is to try a different approach. So instead of giving up and go on, you take a step back and think about how to solve the problem in a different way. You reassess it. Or to paraphrase the famous Einstein quote – you cannot always solve all problems with the same kind of thinking. Sometimes it is good to go do sometimes else for a little while and come back to the problem later, refreshed. To take our stuck jar example again, you do not open the jar with your hand and brute force, but instead go buy a special jar opener tool, which was exactly created for this kind of purpose. In other words, you let a tool work for you.

So how do we translate this in location independent work? Well, naturally, sometimes you have to give up, sometimes you should try harder, but in most cases, there is the possibility of an other approach first. For instance, your end goal is getting a sell-sustaining location independent income. You first choice would be to go with making money through building websites and affiliate marketing. But when this is very difficult in your local market, you can for instance try to utilize your skills in another way, like designing and building websites on a freelance basis, while working also on your other projects. Different ways to reach the same goal.

It works on another level as well. Sometimes you will have to use tools to let these work for you. Take website building for instance. You may think, building a website is impossible for me, because I have no knowledge of software or web technology. But if you use a website builder tool as WordPress, you do not really need to have inside knowledge, as WordPress will take the most difficult parts out of your hand. Thus, you overcame your adverse situation by being smart and read up on the possible solutions yourself.

Of course – I did not mention this before on purpose – you can always go for the “help route”. That is, you ask others to help you out with your problem. Or you let others work out the problem for you. In business this can often be the optimal route, as this enables you to focus on your strengths while you outsource your weak point. However, I think you should always try to grasp a piece of the problem yourself first. For one, this enable you to understand the issue much better, thus making you more efficient in describing the problem to others and finding the right persons to outsource to. Second, it gives you more self-knowledge and self-reliability. Maybe you can tackle the problem yourself after all. The point is, do not pay money to others for small things or easy problems you can actually do yourself but are too scared or lazy to tackle.

In any case, assessing what kind of solution the problem needs can be the hardest part. You can be so deep into the problem that this is all you see and all you can think of all day. In that case, force yourself to snap out of it. How do you know, for instance, that the jar is wrongly manufactured, thus leaving it impossible to open? Study it first – and read up on it online. And often the best thing is to leave your case/problem on the side for a couple of hours or a whole day (or as long as you want). Take some time off and go hiking in the nature for instance. This will clear your thoughts and will place the problem in the proper perspective.

If you do not have really clearance after this – but the problem is still nagging your thought – work on something else first. As said, sometimes you need another way of thinking to solve a problem. You can force yourself in another way of thinking to take yourself out of the paradigm of the original problem and force yourself to tackle a new issue. This will alter your thinking patterns. After that, you can try to tackle the original adverse situation with new vigor. For me this does the trick in most cases.

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