Dealing With Adversity

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Life is complicated and tough - very tough at times.

So, handling, managing, coping and dealing with adversity, challenges, problems, and crisis in life is essential to being happy, and staying happy.

That's obviously not always easy.

Adversity and Happiness

As the quote here states, we all have to deal with adversity in life.  For some people, it's "routine" (and relatively minor) problems, like hating your job (75% of people do), having disagreements with family or friends, or not being able to pay all the bills every month.  

"Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one's journey is easy. It's how they handle it that makes people unique."
- Kevin Conroy

For others, though, the adversity can be more serious - sometimes much more serious.

More serious issues are things like divorce, the death of a loved one, serious chronic health issues, or a devastating financial loss, which can all have a major impact on happiness - at least temporarily.

Again, looking at the quote above, it's how we deal with this adversity, however serious it may be, that determines how it effects our overall happiness - and our life.

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Take the story of Randy Pausch, for example. He is the University Professor who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 at a very young age, becoming "famous" in the process due to "attitude" about life.

Check out this 10-minute emotional and inspirational video from the Oprah show to understand true adversity...

Some Tips to Help
Deal With Adversity

It all starts with "ATTITUDE".  Attitude is everything. So, before even having to deal with the inevitable adversity we all experience, by first facing life from a positive, optimistic perspective, problems and tough times won't ever get to the most negative emotional levels.  Even when really bad things happen, the emotional response is not quite as dramatic.

So, before you do anything else, get a FREE copy of my best-selling book (BeHappy!) by clicking here (and get my two ebooks free, too: Be Happy at Work and A Guide to Healthy Living).  These three free books will change your life, and your attitude.

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Understand that life is "tough".  As mentioned previously, adversity is part of life.  Nobody is immune.  So, as the quote here indicates, "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". So what do you do?

First, acknowledge it.  Then don't avoid or deny it.  Next, be prepared...

Get Prepared.  Before adversity strikes, develop the emotional strength to deal with it.  Part of it goes back to developing the right attitude.   When you understand that adversity is inevitable, you can prepare yourself mentally.  There are many ways to do that and many resources that can help.  The products in the columns to the right and left are some of the best resources I have found.  Check them out.   

Relationships also help us prepare for adversity.  A strong network of family and friends helps in all situations - both positive and negative.  Great times are made even better (more joyful and fulfilling) when shared with those you love.  And, when the going gets tough, friends and family are great sources of support.

Another good inner resource for many people is "faith" (whatever that means to you).  It could be the faith that everything will work out for the best and that everything happens for a reason.  Or, it could be a spiritual or religious faith.

Understand that challenges make us stronger. Nietzsche said that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger".  That's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but the concept is true.  We generally learn much more from our failures and difficulties than we do from our successes and conveniences.  Similarly, we get better at dealing with adversity and gain strength through our difficulties and negative experiences.

Realize that, for most of us, we "don't have it that bad". Many people have it much worse than you and I.  Even if you're going through some very difficult times, there are other people who have it worse.  Some of those people deal with their extreme adversity better than many of us deal with our less desperate situations.  Check out the video of Randy Pausch above as an example if you haven't already.  Or, click here for another great example of someone who has dealt with major adversity and to learn a "trick" on how to better deal with the tough times.   

Here's another example of one story I received recently to show how some people deal with SERIOUS adversity:


My wife, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. When we first heard Karen's cancer diagnosis, we knew things were going to be really tough (and possibly tragic). Our daughter was only 11 years old at the time and that complicated things, but we found ways to get through everything.

First, the operation - a modified wedge section lumpectomy of the left breast took a principal lesion of 2.6 cm. Unfortunately, there was involvement of 9 lymph nodes (pushing her into stage 3 breast cancer).

Then, the chemo therapy... "dose dense". This is the heaviest available, but Karen managed it like a trooper. Of course, we knew she would lose her hair, so about a week before the chemo, we arranged a "head shave party". Karen's hair stylist came over to our house to give her an even buzz cut. Family and friends attended, so they all knew what was going on. Then, they fitted Karen with her wig (we called it "Harriet") that looked very much like her own hair (so she could have a sense of normality during daily life).

During the chemo therapy, she bonded with a group of ladies (and a few men) who were under the same care. They called themselves the "Chemo Sahbees". They still meet to this day to share their experiences and assist with new people to the program.

From the very beginning, I created an e-mail list that included all those close family and friends who needed to be kept up to date with the events of the treatment. I e-mailed them regularly (particularly after any surgeries or other therapies).

Then, came the radiation, which was long and tiring.

Then, came the Herceptin (the "miracle drug"). It had complications (it weakened Karen's heart), but we have gotten over that as well.

Throughout, Karen has been focused and solid with her treatments, exercises and medications. She exercises every day (to prevent swelling) and takes her meds on the dot. She recently had her port removed.

At present, she has no traces or symptoms of cancer (excuse me while I go find some real wood to knock on).

We try to live our lives in the manner that Elvis Presley prescribed (although he should have listened to his own words)...

He said, "You need three things to get through life happy... something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love."

It all comes down to one thing... BE POSITIVE! In fact, Karen's license plate is... HAVE2B+

Once you get angry, or feeling sorry for yourself, it opens doors for tragedy. If you stay positive, you stay in this world (an integral part of it).

Take care of yourself and your family, Jimmy.

Allan W.

This is a great story of people who know how to be happy. As you can see, Allan and his wife, Karen, use many of the tools I talk about on this website and in my book, like:

- Relationships
- Laughter (making things funny ... like "Harriet")
- Contribution (helping new people to the "Chemo Sahbee" group)

...and much more.

If you are going through something similar, maybe Allan and Karen's story can help you in some way. I sure hope so, and I'm sure Allan and Karen do, too.

BeHappy! my friends


If the information on this site helps you and you'd like to make a donation to (to help make others happy), please click on the button below to make a contribution. The amount you donate is entirely up to you. A portion will used to contribute to the happiness of others and is greatly appreciated.



If the information on this site helps you and you'd like to make a donation to (to help make others happy), please click on the button below to make a contribution. The amount you donate is entirely up to you. A portion will used to contribute to the happiness of others and is greatly appreciated.


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