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Here’s how I stay positive in these trying times

By Hardik Maheshwari, February 8 2021—

Let me start with a question: How do you manage to stay positive during tough times?

By tough times I mean any event or circumstance, in general, that tends to disturb your mental condition or the status quo and drag you out of your comfort zone. It can be anything like a breakup, a sudden illness of yours or anyone in your family, failing an exam, losing a job, loss in business or even a loved one’s death.

How do you tackle these situations?

Do they make you or break you?

Personally, I believe that difficult situations are there to make us stronger and tougher. It is during these times that the toughness of our mind is tested. People respond differently to similar situations according to their own mental makeup.

I work with students and I have seen them all react differently when faced with similar situations. I have seen students who become depressed after failing an exam while there are others who, though disheartened, take it as learning opportunity and simply understand that their studying efforts were not enough and they’ll have to work hard to improve next time.

I have seen young boys and girls heartbroken if they are dumped by their partners, while there are others who are pretty cool about breakups and almost instantaneously ready to move on. I sincerely believe that the power is not in the situation, but how you respond to it. Your response determines how your life will go on after the time has passed.

In Chinese, the word “crisis” is written in such a way that it denotes both danger and opportunity. There is an opportunity in every crisis for us to learn and evolve. 

My life changed completely after I started addressing my “problems” as “challenges.” When you assess a situation as a “problem” it triggers the stress response in our body. Stress hormones are released and the body goes straight into fight or flight mode.

Rational thinking and the ability to generate ideas are hampered during this phase. It’s an extremely disempowering condition. You seem to have no control over your life. You feel helpless and victimized.

On the contrary, when you take the same situation as a challenge and are ready to face it head-on, your focus will shift to finding solutions. You are able to learn and move on while still becoming stronger and wiser. 

Here’s a helpful metaphor.

Suppose you are the boss of a company. There is this guy who has joined your company a couple of months ago. He is smart, talented and enthusiastic. There is a lot of potential in him. Your company is going to open its new branch and you think this young man can manage the branch well. Will you give him the big responsibility of carrying out such a crucial task or would you like to evaluate his abilities first before making a decision?

Perhaps you would give him a small project first to see his leadership skills and assess whether or not he will be able to run the branch office in the future all by himself. You would probably choose the second option, right? 

The brain works in a similar fashion. It will test your skills and toughness before handing over to you something better, something great. So, my dear friends, if you are going through a tough phase always remember you are being trained for something bigger. 

If you have failed an exam, take it as an opportunity to prepare better for the next time. If you have lost your job, find out what skills you need to develop and hone to get a better job and become a master in your field. If you have suffered the loss in business, see where you went wrong and how you can plan better and make good business decisions in the future. If you have been dumped by your partner, try to find out what mistakes you made and try to improve yourself for someone worthier.

Always remember, if you are facing a challenge in life, the universe has a plan for you.

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