The day will come. Someone will disappoint you. Someone will betray you. Your day won’t go as planned. Your boss will get angry. Your client will get angry. You’ll lose something. You’ll lose someone. The list of potential setbacks is never ending.

We are all human, and as humans we have all had and will have tough moments, tough days, tough weeks, months or even a whole year.

These challenges can make it feel impossible to keep it together, and that’s normal. We all feel it.

Believe it or not, you can turn this around through positive thinking. That doesn’t mean pasting on a fake smile and singing through the hills like Julie Andrews. There’s more to it than raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Done the right way and with deep intention, positive thoughts can be a powerful force in making tough times work for you.

Remember these five things:

1. There is always something to learn

Look for the value to be derived. There is a gift, a lesson in all things, if you make a conscious effort to look for it.

Let’s say you didn’t get that job you just interviewed for. What did you learn? What insight did you gain? What can you improve next time?

Let’s say you were just fired from a job. Instead of seeing it as a failure, see it as an opportunity to re-create yourself. Ask yourself, “What do I truly want? How can I use this to opportunity to make a better life for myself?”

The best thing you can make of any challenge or setback is to learn from it. Dwelling on regret doesn’t change reality. Looking forward and acting on the lessons and opportunities will.

2. Everyone is fighting their own battle

As humans, we have a tendency to turn inwards. Things happen and we ask, “Why me? Why do these things always happen to me?”

We often feel this way because we don’t see the struggles everyone else is facing. People tend to hide their own daily struggles from the world. We can’t hide from our own, so they seem much larger.

In reality, everyone is struggling with something. Every person you pass on the street, ride the train with, stand in line behind or even work beside is facing their own challenges that we will never see.

Understand that it is all relative and you are never given more than you can handle.

Photo by Tarek Riman – Leon, Spain, Camino de Santiago

3. Tough times don’t last; tough people do

Some of the greatest ideas in history started out as complete failures. Leaders don’t just jump to the top. Instead, they overcome struggle after struggle in their climb. Champion fighters go through 30 fights over the years before getting a belt around their waist.

The difference between those who make it and those who don’t, is that those who make it don’t let the bumps in the road stall their journey.

As long as you keep your eye on your end goal and maintain a mindset of success, you will keep trying. You will keep pushing past fears and challenges. You will keep moving forward and you will get there.

Be ready to discover what you’re made of. It’s the tough times that filter the strong from the weak; the winners from the losers. Face the adversity of the situation with all that you have. You’ll be amazed at the power you hold within.

Photo by Tarek Riman – Logrono, Spain, Camino de Santiago

4. Realize how far you have come

Press pause. Step back. Take a deep breath and look at all you have accomplished in life so far. Recognize every achievement, big or small.

Think back to where you were five years ago. Ten years ago. Notice how far you’ve come, what you’ve learned and who you’ve become.

What you see is progress! This moment is tough. Maybe this entire year has been a struggle. But it is nothing more than a temporary setback. A blip on your life’s radar.

Don’t be discouraged by the blips. It is these times that eventually propel your progress.

Photo by Tarek Riman – Spain, Camino de Santiago

5. Be grateful for what you have and who you are

Yes, times are tough and much of it is beyond your control.

But look up! The sky hasn’t fallen. The sun still rises. Your heart still beats.

As basic as that sounds, don’t ignore it. Breathe in, breathe out. Notice and appreciate your breath for what it is. Life!

Look around you. Realize what you do have right now and choose to build on that. Move forward by making decisions based on what you want and where you want to be, not out of this temporary moment’s fear or despair.

To sum up

Never give in. Never yield to the tough times or overwhelming situations. Refuse to be the victim. Remember that you always have a choice. You can choose to embrace the struggle and move forward.



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