How to Maintain Composure in the Face of Adversity

The other morning I hit a major setback on something big that I’ve been working on. When I learned about it my immediate impulse was to panic. That was followed by anxiety, and it wasn’t long before I found myself in somewhat of a frenzy.

Fortunately the day ended and eventually I fell asleep. When I woke up the next day I realized just how useless all of that had been. I knew that in order to pick myself up and move forward I had to maintain my composure in the face of adversity.

1. Give Yourself Time to Process It

When you’re faced with adversity, it’s important to give yourself time to process what’s happening. Some people will tell you to forget it and move on. But, if you try to move on immediately, you’ll find it impossible not to continually dwell on what just happened. It might take a day. It might take a week. It might take two. The key is to make sure it’s not taking so long that you’re completely mentally paralyzed and unable to move on.

2. Avoid Knee Jerk Reactions

When you hit a major setback it’s inevitable that you’ll have some sort of a reaction. Chances are it won’t be a positive one. While it might be tempting to shout out to the world about your setback, that may end up causing long term damage. Therefore it’s best to avoid any knee jerk reactions.

3. Stop Resisting The Circumstances

You’ve probably heard the words “what you resist persists.” What’s happened has happened. Resisting something won’t change that. If anything it keeps you stuck exactly where you’re at and ultimately kills your flow.

4. Consider the Possibilities

By asking yourself one simple question, a world of options will open up to you: “What’s possible?” By asking what’s possible you destroy the limitations of your current circumstances. What emerges is a blank canvas for you to paint your next masterpiece on.

5. Look at Your Previous Setbacks

If there’s anything that 1000 days of surfing has taught me it’s that life ebbs and flows. Sometimes the conditions are fantastic. Sometimes they’re lousy. But they always improve. When you’re trying to make a dent in the universe you’ll often take two steps back to take twenty forward.

6. Go Past the Point of No Return

The other morning I was interviewing Jonathan Fields who has been incredibly successful as an entrepreneur. When I asked him what differentiated really successful people from others he said that they keep going when most people would have given up. They go to the point of no return and never look back.

By maintaining composure in the face of adversity, you’ll be able to navigate the waters of life even when they get a bit choppy. 

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