They say adversity builds character. However, that doesn’t seem like much consolation to me. Personally, I would rather avoid all adversity, even if it meant never building any character. If I had my druthers, I would like to live in a kind of ignorant bliss in which all of my needs for ease, comfort, and pleasure would be automatically met. But back to the real world. It is, of course, completely impossible for anyone to avoid all adversity. It will eventually come knocking at everyone’s door – and more than once. It has been said that everyone either going through a crisis, has just come out of one, or is about to enter one. That’s unfortunate but quite true.
So the next best thing is to find a way to take advantage of adversity when it comes your way. True opportunists know how to take advantage of both the good and the bad things that happen to them. Now if you’re expecting a lot of Pollyannaish platitudes, please look elsewhere. You’ll never get that kind of stuff from me. My goal is to provide some realistic advice about how to make the best of adversity.
While I don’t know about the character part, I do know that the primary way to take advantage of adversity is to demonstrate to others that it is not getting you down. When you are enduring some kind of major setback, most of the folks around you will know it. If you can show them that it is not getting to you, you will win their respect. Even your enemies and those who normally disagree with you on most issues will be impressed, whether they will admit it or not. This will earn you their admiration when nothing else will. I can personally vouch for this one. When I was younger, I remember trying every trick in the book to earn the respect of others, all to no avail. It wasn’t until hardship came my way and I endured it with dignity and grace that I finally started earning the respect I wanted so badly. Now I’m highly regarded by many people who used to think of me as a wimp or a “lightweight.”
People will think you are some kind of superman or superwoman for not allowing yourself to be beaten down by life’s major adversities. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be undaunted by your circumstances – you just need to project that image by not giving in to the temptation to pout or throw yourself a pity party. Never complain or whine publicly. No one likes a complainer and it never does any good anyway. Now that doesn’t mean going it alone. If necessary, talk to a wise counselor, close friend, or family member privately. Talk to God about it in prayer. However, laugh, sing, and make it business-as-usual while most other people are watching. And, believe me, they will be watching.