How To Turn Adversity Into Opportunity
Picture this. You’re on the way to the office. While waiting for the subway, you caught someone reading the morning papers. On the page splashed the red bold headlines “Global Stock Markets Crashed!”.
What’s your first impression of the situation?
Well, if you’re someone who’s not into any stock investments at all, this probably doesn’t affect you. You don’t lose anything. On the surface that is. But ask anyone who’s financially savvy and he’ll tell you this. By leaving your money with the banks for the paltry interest, you’re literally losing its value to burgeoning inflation rates.
What if you’re one of those who invest in stocks and mutual funds? You’ll feel a little jittery. After all, it’s your hard earned money and I’m sure you don’t want to see it vanish in an instant. You may be tempted to sell off your stakes and take a safer position. But is that the right thing you should be doing?
For the real experts, this “adversity” is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They’ll treat it like a shopping spree for some of their favourite value stocks. Stocks that remain fundamentally strong but are now cheaper because of the general downturn. And more often than not, these people are the ones rewarded for their foresight with a nice jump in their portfolio’s value when the market returns.
The Relationship between Adversity, Opportunity & Life
Now, isn’t the same applicable to our daily life?
Life is not always a bed of roses. You can be working real hard in a company for 15 years and yet when the economy is down, you’re one of the first to be booted. You can be involved in a romantic relationship and just when you think everything’s perfect, your beau ditch you for another person.
Guaranteed losers are those who avoid risks at all, thinking that if they don’t dabble in anything that’s fraught with uncertainty, they’ll be able to avoid adversity. They’re just like those who put their money into the bank. On the surface it looks like a safe bet, but the truth is, they’re losing chances to hone their character by roughing it out!
Quitters are those who squirm & exclaim “why me?” the moment problems crop up. Ironically, they don’t say “why me” when they prosper. They seldom do their research and just follow what the crowd does. When the markets’ down, they draw their money out, quitting the game even though it’s early. Similarly, when they don’t see efforts paying off fast in the endeavours they embark, they quit. Because of this short sightedness, they literally fail in most things they do.
Winners like the real experts I mentioned earlier, are often able to see the opportunity within the crux of their problems. They’re not naturally born like that. They’re trained to be so. They see retrenchment during midlife a great chance to join another company and pick up new skills. They view getting ditched in a relationship as a first step to finding their true soul mate. Because of this ability to see things differently, life to them is a land of opportunities.
Adversities is inevitable, but suffering is optional. If you’re able to ride over it or even turn it into a real exciting opportunity, I guarantee you, the benefits is more far reaching than you would’ve ever imagined.
Many years ago when my grades wasn’t good enough to get into the Pre-University of my choice, I was filled with anguish and frustration. But it turned out to be one of the greatest opportunity in my life. I was able to learn at a more comfortable pace with teachers who structured their lessons to match our capabilities.
In the end, not only was I able to qualify for one of the most prestigious college program in my country, I became tougher in the process. My life prior to this was pretty charmed. And when Tristan from Synergy Institute invited me to join in my friend Peter’s Think Different Challenge, this incident immediately came into my mind. Yes, Tristan, this is my contribution.
4 Steps to Turn It Around
Perhaps you may be thinking “OK, I can see the connection now. But how do I turn an adversity into an opportunity”? The good news is, you’ve already possess all the ingredients. What you need is the right way to mix things up. Here’s my take :
(1) Resume Control
What’s the first thing people do when they encounter a problem? They panic.
When I was doing an implementation in Pakistan in my last job, someone would pop by my room and ask for help almost every other day. After I told them the way to handle the issues, they were usually amazed at how simple some of those solutions were.
The truth is, when anxiety or other emotions takes over, your ability to think strategically diminishes. It’s imperative for you to regain your composure the moment a problem crop up. Try using the Stop, Be Aware & Take Control approach. Trust me, while you’re doing this, you’ll be clearer of what’s causing the anxiety. And usually, that’s none other than yourself.
(2) Look on the Bright Side
I know it’s unsettling to say you’re the one causing your own anxiety. But ask yourself, are you always thinking of the worse case scenario whenever you’re bogged down by issues?
Contrary to popular belief, problems are actually the best lessons for enhancing our inner strength & endurance. Something that we already have but needs a reason for showing up. And problems are exactly the stimulus. The moment you start thinking in this light, your fear of problems will dissolve by itself.
You no longer view them as an enemy but an ally. No matter what comes ahead, you know you’ll be able to overcome it. Occasionally, you’ll find that self sabotaging little voice within you refuting this claim. Use Dr Lens’ technique to counteract it. It works very well for me.
(3) Seek A Second Opinion
Once you’re relatively calmer and fully aware of your own ability to resolve this crisis, ask for a second opinion.
Sometimes, taking a step back and see how people solve the same issue may give you a breath of fresh air. It’s important to know who you’re asking though. Never attempt to ask someone who’ve no experience or knowledge about a particular domain you want help in. Or you may end up more confused than you were before the opinion. If there’s no one around you who’ve the relevant experience, remember there’s always the online forums you can check out. Leave the confidential & intricate details out if you want privacy.
(4) Find A Solution
After having a better idea of the things people will do, begin asking yourself, “what should I do now?”. Probe your mind, write down all the possibilities on a piece of paper. If you’re having a mind block, go for a jog or play a round of computer games. Then go back to your drawing board. Believe me, you’ll be amazed at your answers.
You’ll be able to tap on the advice you’ve obtained previously, conduct your research and draw your own conclusions. And when you’ve a list of steps to making the best of your situation, congratulations, you’ve just created an opportunity. An opportunity that will not only lead you out of your crisis, but will also allow you to view yourself in a totally different light especially you’ve acted on it.