Finding Opportunity In Adversity

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August 6, 2010

A lesson that I learned years ago that helped me in finding opportunity in adversity is, “The only meaning anything has, is the meaning that we give it.” One of the things that often makes this hard to apply is when we face challenges in our lives, we tend to look to others to help us define what is happening in our environment. When we do this, how we interpret the situation is influenced by the “meanings” that other people have already attached to it.

As an example, if the current economy is making it hard for other people to find a job, by relying on their experiences to help you find meaning, you may begin to believe that the current economic situation will also make it “hard” for you to find work. Or even worse, that there is no “hope” for you to find a job in your current field. Without realizing it, we accept the meaning that other people have decided the experience should mean without asking, “Is there another possibility?”

Yet is it possible that there is another person who is looking at this exact situation and saying to them selves, “This current economic situation is an opportunity.” Is it possible that they are looking at the same job market and asking themselves different questions? If they are asking “solution” oriented questions like, “What service can I provide that can be of even greater value to people in these challenging times?” By asking these kinds of questions will they be accessing different resources and coming up with more options that will help them in finding opportunity than the person who has decided the job market is hopeless?

History show us that many of the greatest advancements that humanity has seen have arisen from the most desperate circumstances. Scientific, political, social and economic “breakthroughs” have often come because things were in such bad shape, that simply to survive people had to explore a new possibility they never would have considered otherwise.

The difference between succeeding and failing has nothing to do with “what is happening”. What will determine success or failure is your “choice” of how you will respond to what is happening.

We need to accept that at all times, in all situations, we have a choice. When you face hard times, you will either make the choice to surrender your dreams because you chose to attach the meaning that succeeding is “impossible”? Or you will choose to make your commitment to succeeding even stronger, knowing that anything is possible if you truly desire it. The choice you make will determine your course of action.

Since you ultimately choose the meaning that you will attach to your circumstances, what would be possible if you decided to choose the meaning that gives you the greatest opportunity for success?

When facing insurmountable obstacles, I invite you to open the doorway for new possibilities by asking, “What opportunities could be possible if I looked at this a different way?” 

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