When life is hard (and 6 things to do about it)

When life gets hard, what are some things to consider if you are out there weathering the storm? The following are some ideas for staying agile and making the best of what life deals out. Think of these as mental tools or habits of thinking. If you practice them regularly, these concepts will be a key arsenal for taking on even the most daunting challenges.

1. Everything happens for a reason

The world we live in and the lives we live are the results of a complex interaction of natural forces both within and outside of our control. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all face challenges. However, identifying the root causes of your woes will bring you closer to long term solutions.

2. Pivot or persevere

It is during troubling times that life presents you with the opportunity to make a choice, to pivot (redirect time, energy and focus in a different direction), or to persevere (to continue along a current course of actions). When things aren’t going the way you’d like them to go, asking yourself “should I pivot or persevere?” may help. Sometimes our pride or stubbornness leads us to persevere too long in one direction. At other times, we miss out on big wins by pivoting too fast. My rule of thumb for deciding is to keep things as simple as possible and follow your bliss.

3. Become an expert problem solver

Solving personal problems and making good choices is the essence of success in any endeavor. What is better than improving the way we face the inevitable adversity in our lives? Being agile is about learning how to make the best choices for the given situation. It’s about empowering yourself to be resilient and courageous when dealing with whatever comes your way. 

4. Focus on factors that you can control

It’s easy to say things “just happen” or “there was nothing I could do”. It’s harder to honestly examine the way your choices contribute to your ongoing problems. While there are many of factors that occur all around you that are outside of your control, there are just as many that you CAN control. Focus on those and you’ll help build up resilience to the external ones.

5. Understanding is the key

What you don’t know or understand can bite you in the ass. It is important to realize that the root causes of our problems often dance just beyond the horizon of our perceptions. The more you can learn about something, the more you can control it. This applies well to learning new skills and building better strategies for tackling complex problems.

6. Own your issues

If we want to gain mastery over our conditions, then we must not lend too much credence to the voices of our own inner victims. Instead, we should accept that, although we are not always at fault for undesirable situations, we are still ultimately responsible for them.


When the shit hits that fan, how you handle it makes all the difference. Sometimes it just takes a shift of perspective to solve the most persistent problems. For every tragedy, there is a hero whose strong mind and clear decision-making finds a way to improve his or her conditions. Sometimes this improvement is slight. Other times, it is significant. Let’s do this!

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