It wasn’t a mistake – it was a lesson! Learn it well.
Lesson 1: Acceptance
When things don’t go your way, it’s natural to feel sad and angry – but it’s also important to realize that if you let your emotions taint your behavior, you’ll likely strain your relationships with others. In the long run, this will only make matters worse, and increase your stress level. So accept the realities around you, and deal with the facts “on the ground.” Only then will you be able to figure out what factors you do have the power to influence.
Lesson 2: Remember to laugh
Maintaining a sense of humor in the face of a “failure” will prevent adversity from damaging your self-esteem too deeply. All of our experiences contribute to the richness of our life stories – every single one of them. Being able to laugh – especially at your own imperfections – demonstrates wisdom and maturity. This isn’t a license to be cavalier about the situation, but it will keep you from taking yourself so seriously that you ignore the take-home lessons.
Lesson 3: Get perspective
Most of us place great importance on material wealth, but having an abundance of “stuff” has never truly made anyone feel loved, fulfilled or happy. In fact, wealthy people are often at much higher risk of clinical depression! Unemployment sometimes prompts people to seek out volunteer opportunities, and in those circumstances many confess that working with people who are sick, abused or living far below the poverty line has shifted their values in a truly positive way. Likewise, layoffs sometimes inspire people to pursue entirely new career paths – regardless of the earning potential – simply to follow their dreams.
Maybe it’s time to reevaluate your life’s purpose: if your hours at work have been cut back, for instance, this could be a moment to cherish that extra time you have with friends and loved ones – and discover what really makes you happy. Perhaps it’s the moment to blaze a new trail in your personal or professional life. Do something new that will help you gain a fresh perspective.
Destiny doesn’t always conform to our schedule. As you set your goals, remind yourself that accomplishing what you set out to do may take longer than you’d prefer – and that’s okay.
Lesson 4: Stay optimistic
If you lose hope, your spirit will suffer. There are bound to be dark days when you feel like your life is falling apart, but seek out ways to manage stress so that you can maintain a positive outlook. Re-examine all those factors you do control, once more: keep tabs on your diet and exercise regimen, and get plenty of vitamin D. Keep a journal. Do what it takes to keep the blues at bay!
Lesson 5: Find the silver lining
Getting at that bright side is especially important for those who are seeking work. Appreciate all the extra time you have to reorganize your house, get in shape, and spend time with friends and family. Figure out what the situation is telling you about yourself, so you can arm yourself for future challenges.
Lesson 6: Keep going
Adversity and hardships have been the catalyst for many notable achievements. Take the superstar children’s author J.K. Rowling, for instance. Divorce had left her a penniless single parent, with no job – and no prospects. She survived on government assistance for years. At one point, she was on the verge of being homeless. Despite Rowling’s lack of writing experience, she managed to produce the Harry Potter series – which has become one of the most successful children’s literature franchises of all time. When asked about her success, Rowling admits that failure taught her things about herself she could not have learned any other way. There are many other luminaries who have hit rock bottom before becoming successful: Chris Gardner, John D. Rockefeller, Mark Wahlberg and Sean Combs are just a few examples.
Always remember that every problem contains, hidden within it, an opportunity – and it’s up to you to find it!