What Adversity Can Teach Us

With vaccinations becoming more widely available and schools reopening, we all are adjusting our expectations of a new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lives and careers have been disrupted and, for some, no longer exist. As we return to work and school, we are facing extensive temperature checks, separation of students by grades, and staggered days at school and at the office. But out of adversity, we have an opportunity to rise. Change and unexpected challenges are an ever-constant part of life. People who learn to face these changes head on and adjust to overcome these events in life are the ones that thrive from finding the opportunity in adversity. We can’t control everything, but we can control how we respond.

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For so many of us, feeling uncertain and a lack of control can cause anxiety, depression, and even irrational fears. However, there are steps you can take to alleviate those feelings. Take notice of which circumstances trigger your uncertainty and take actions to avoid those situations. For example, instead of spending hours listening to contradictory news shows, choose a news source you trust and check for updates once or twice a day. Limit your time on social media. Even talking with anxious friends can fuel your fears. If we practice shifting our fearful thoughts to positive ones, we will come out of this stronger, as a closer family, a community that looks after each other and creates a better world. We will look at each other and say, “We made it and couldn’t have done it without each other.”

We are interconnected to each other in a way we would have never realized until COVID-19. It crosses social and international lines. We will have learned to appreciate the simple things in life. Social interaction with others will be appreciated. Respect for our health and being alive will have grown.

We look back at 2020 as a time when our lives changed. We hit the re-set button as if the computer program was wiped out and we had to start over with new programing, habits and goals for life. The rules and narrative changed. We will interact cautiously, travel in a different way. Masks and antiseptic wipes will be a normal part of our daily lives for some time to come. New and beneficial habits have immerged. Life after COVID-19 will give us a chance to re-start our lives, focus on what is meaningful, what we no longer need, and what is profoundly important in the bigger picture.

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Create a new normal that includes more human compassion, courage, resolve, and dedication to not only surviving but thriving. Recreate your life and work. What are the new needs that were created from this pandemic? Do you have skills that can be utilized? Focus on how you can come out of this experience better than when you went in. Be a better person, know your power, and what is truly important. How can you be prepared for any future event?

Economically, we do not know what will happen, but know you have the foundations in place to handle whatever happens. Be grateful for what you have and appreciate the human kindness that presented itself during these difficult and uncertain times.  If you can look at this time in your life as a reminder that you found your strength and creativity and survived, it will help you face other adversities with more ease and grace.

The challenges we have been presented with require great courage. The unknown can create a level of stress in relationships and pressures that are unfamiliar. There are people and resources available for psychological help, do not be afraid to ask. Exercise and healthy eating habits go a long way to boosting mental health.

When we are forced to do things differently, new habits and creativity begin to form.

The daily routines and rhythm of our lives have changed. You will see some businesses work from home and parents are needing to accommodate having school children at home. When we are forced to do things differently, new habits and creativity begin to form. Maybe a new way of life emerges that is even better than what you could have imagined before all the unexpected changes.

We are all forced to stay more in the moment and not plan too far ahead. We don’t know where we will be 6 months to a year from now. What we do know, is how we can plan our best strategies now for our future and have the skillset to pivot and change and bring our creativity and survival skills to the forefront.

People will work and travel in a different way, their daily routines and the very rhythm of their lives will change, including where they eat and how they communicate with their families. When we are forced to do things differently, new habits begin to form. We are extremely capable of adapting to any kind of situation.

More than that, what we know about shocks like this and system change is that they can have lasting effects on people’s values. We know societies that go through war generate stronger ties. This pandemic is far from a war, but it requires pulling together. And when people realize what collective action can achieve, it could change how they relate to others, resulting in a greater sense of community.

Our human spirit and strength have been seen for centuries. Our ancestry has paved the way for us to know what we are capable of enduring and overcoming. Together we become stronger as humanity. Facing adversity brings meaning to why we are here and what is our purpose. Be grateful for all that you do have and help others who are not as fortunate as you. This connects us to our compassion and spirit of love and kindness.

This IS what brings us joy and happiness.

Take this time to dig deep and find your grit to come out of this with a renewed sense of life, purpose, and connection.

Terry Sidford

Terry Sidford is a sought-after motivational TEDx speaker, Author, Television Host and Life Coach since 1998. She has assisted scores of people and organizations in achieving their dreams, which she believes is her own life’s purpose. Terry’s greatest joy has always been to help others unleash their potential and live life to the fullest.