Turning Challenges Into Opportunities: The Key To Overcoming Any Obstacle

Pushing past hurdles and turning them into opportunities requires letting go of false assumptions, keeping perspective about what you can control, and believing that things will work out. 

positive businessman

Starting a business is similar to many of life's endeavors in that it typically involves plenty of risk, even more planning, and a heavy dose of faith. And when things don't necessarily go as planned, resilience is perhaps one of the most important traits to have in life. Pushing past hurdles and turning them into opportunities requires letting go of false assumptions, keeping perspective about what you can control, and believing that things will work out.

Perfection Isn't Realistic

Even though we know that nobody's life is perfect, we tend to think that everyone behaves just like us. This assumption makes it easy to buy into the cultural mantra that reaching the top requires the same perfection-based path for everyone: If you just do your homework and work hard, you'll be rich and successful.

The truth is nothing is guaranteed. Each of us will encounter forks in the road, whether it's a divorce, moving across the country to take a job, or running into money problems. When you encounter these challenges, it's up to you to decide how you handle them. How you choose to adapt can change the trajectory of your life and alter your odds of success. This reality means you should hold yourself accountable, but it also means that you always have the power to write your own story.

Perspective Is Everything

I faced one of the biggest obstacles in my life when I was only 5 years old. When war broke out in my home country of Lebanon, the conflict was truly devastating. At such a young age, I had to navigate trauma that cost me grandparents, cousins, and aunts. And although trauma isn't something I'd wish upon anyone, the war put things into perspective: After waking up each day fearing for my life, nothing seemed quite as bad after the turmoil had passed. I learned that over time, wounds slowly start to heal. We can recover, even in the face of despair, and we don't have to let those setbacks take us off the path toward a brighter future.

Over the years, that resilient perspective was strengthened many times in the face of adversity. Whether it was having my money stolen or being laid off from a job, I knew from experience that these troubles were temporary. The paradoxical effect of living through war meant the anxiety I felt when facing a difficult situation became familiar whenever life's hardships presented themselves again. My attitude became "I've been there (and worse) before — I know how to handle it now."

That's not to say you need to go through an actual war to realize this and adopt this mindset — the optimistic outlook that you can get through it if you keep your focus on the end goal can apply to many of life's struggles.

Life happens, and you don't always have control over the situations you face. Accepting that is the first step. But what you can control is your reaction and the behavior or steps you take to move forward.

This, Too, Shall Pass

As I was working my way up in my industry, part of what helped me overcome career and life struggles was that I simultaneously looked for the positive but never accepted that my reality had to stay the way it was. Each time someone told me I wasn't good enough, it fired up the desire in me to prove them wrong, and I refused to quit. I knew I had the resolve to overcome whatever life threw at me.

When you experience a fork in the road, that's when you decide to take control of your own fate. Don't ever let anyone else choose your direction for you. You will face challenges; it's inevitable. But none of those obstacles will be any match for an attitude of hope and resolve.

The way I look at it is we have two choices in the face of adversity: We can cower and accept defeat, or we can try to do something about it.

Any time you experience a setback, no matter the size, take stock — figure out who you want to be and what it will take to get there — and then set out to do it. Everything is temporary, so the stress won't last forever. It's up to you to decide your path, and by taking it one day at a time, your destination gets closer with every step.

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