A while back I wrote a blog post about Mental Toughness, which was inspired by Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards by Claire Dorotik-Nana. I am moved to write another blog post inspired by her work about welcoming adversity. I, more than most people I know, spend a lot of time and energy avoiding adversity but in doing so I am also avoiding rewards that come with facing a challenge. Using adversity to grow stronger may sound like a no-brainer but it is a huge hurdle for me to overcome. The possible benefits of doing so according to Claire Dorotik-Nana are, “advancing our strengths, finding new strengths, expanding our capacity for connection, increasing our openness to new opportunity, finding power in our vulnerability, clarifying faith, sharpening our thinking, and stretching our gratitude.”
Six Steps to Welcoming Adversity
Using dialectical thinking essentially stops us seeing things in black and white and makes us accept that everything has grey areas. Find the positives and negatives in everything by trying to see things from multiple perspectives. No one is without fault and no situation is hopeless. Dialectical thinking will allow us to see adversity as a mixture of difficulty and opportunity.
Become More Open.
This is something I have painfully done over a period of a decade. Adversity I faced left me looking at a lot of closed doors and the loss of so many people from my life. However, no doors close without others opening, and it wasn’t until I stopped focussing on what I couldn’t do that I began to see opportunities available to me. I can only control my actions. Using openness meant asking myself if I had never gone in one particular direction what would I have done instead?
It is easy to be grateful when things are going well but it’s when we are facing adversity that gratitude is needed the most. Claire Dorotik-Nana urges us to find three things we are grateful for when facing any adversity. This is a huge challenge for me as I focus on negativity quite naturally.
Invulnerability may generate fear, whereas vulnerability generates empathy. Invulnerability protects ego at the expense of growth as it holds us hostage in the face of adversity. It is a barrier to recognising and accepting our imperfections. Trying to be invulnerable is what we do to avoid being exposed, being seen as inadequate, unworthy, unacceptable. What perceived faults are you scared of exposing? Once you have identified those faults you can do something about them.
Life isn’t meant to be lived in solitary, yet when we face devastation we withdraw from people which only serves to keep shame, fear and pain constantly associated with the difficult situation. Connection with others is the antidote to rejection.
Find Your Faith.
Adversity may make us question our faith but questions offer clarification, allowing us to define what we believe and why. This is important as drawing on faith at times of adversity is very necessary. Faith needs to stand the test of our experiences. What we believe is up to us as individuals, but what do we believe about hardship? Can it be avoided totally? Should it be?
Claire Dorotik-Nana is the author of Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards. For more information on Claire or her work, just visit www.leverageadversity.net