Learn how to overcome adversity

How to build resilience and overcome anything

Anyone who has ever achieved something worthwhile has had challenges and setbacks – because anything that is worth doing is going to be difficult. Overcoming adversity is a necessary step on the road to greatness.

Philosopher Edmund Burke said, “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” Life is the worthy opponent – the antagonist – we all need to grow. When you have the right tools to overcome adversity, you embrace the situation as a helper, rather than letting it stop you from achieving your goals and reaching your dreams. 

Think about the last time you had to overcome adversity. How did you do it? What would you do differently? Now think about a time when someone you admire had to overcome adversity. How did they do it? What could you learn from how they handled the situation? Can you apply any of those lessons to your own life?

how does a person overcome adversity

1. Be prepared

Working on overcoming adversity happens before the tough situation even happens. Train your brain to be resilient by building your inner strength and developing a growth mindset. Examine your limiting beliefs to uncover what’s holding you back. Develop a support system that you can fall back on.

When the time comes to dig deep and uncover how to overcome adversity, you’ll be prepared. Lean into the work that you’ve already done and use your inner strength to handle the situation. This becomes easier the more you prepare yourself.

2. Practice positivity

How does a person overcome adversity? Through mindset work and practice. Often, it is more about the way they frame the things that happen to them than the actual things that happen. Take a step back and reframe the problem in a positive way. Catch any negative self-talk and replace it with empowering beliefs that help you work toward your goal rather than undermine it. The more you shift yourself toward a positive mindset, the more equipped you will be to overcome adversity.

3. Stay disciplined

When tough times hit, it can feel like your life is out of control. Stop yourself from spiraling out of control by establishing strong rituals to be used as a tool for overcoming adversity. When you create and actively practice positive habits like priming, meditation and daily exercise, you’re preparing your mind and body for adversity. Though it may be hard, sticking to a daily routine through good times and bad will bring order and empowerment to your life. It will make you feel more grounded in your ability to overcome adversity and achieve your goals.

4. Stay focused

Getting what you want in life is all about focus. No matter what happens, you must keep your eye on the prize. Remember why you wanted your goal: it’s your purpose, your passion, your reason for living. Remembering why you wanted your goal is just as important as actively working toward it. Visualize your life when you’ve achieved your dreams to make it feel more possible and achievable. When your goal feels within reach, it is easier to keep taking actions to achieve it. Stay focused on your ultimate goal no matter what. Destructive thinking will only get in your way when you’re learning how to overcome adversity

5. Find the lesson

Realizing that life happens for you, not to you, is key to overcoming adversity. Every event in your life can teach you something. Those who are able to find the lessons will succeed. Those who blame their circumstances on others will fail. Take responsibility for what has happened to you and how you reacted to the situation. Evaluate what happened and why. Come up with a plan or establish a process to prevent it from happening in the future. Then move on. 

Dwelling on your mistakes and failures only takes time away from achieving your goals. When it comes to mistakes, as Steve Jobs said, “It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” 

Overcoming adversity

6. Work on your skills

Think of some of the most successful people on Earth. All of them put in the time to improve their skills and take their talents to the next level. The greatest leaders and most successful people know that there is always room for improvement. As Tony says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” 

Overcoming adversity is about taking an honest look at your own knowledge and skills, acknowledging your shortcomings and working to improve them, every day. In addition to the skills that tie directly to your profession or goal, work on other things that will benefit you no matter what your goal is. Learn how to speak clearly and confidently in public. Improve your networking finesse. Increase your finance and management knowledge. When you are prepared for multiple situations, you’ll feel more confident about your future and your ability to overcome adversity

7. Learn from others

To answer the question, “How do people overcome adversity?” go straight to the source. Think of the people you know who you admire. Ask them how they got there. Hear their stories. Listen to their examples of overcoming adversity.

In addition to learning from real-life examples, read the biographies of people who have achieved what you want in life. From Oprah Winfrey to Bill Gates, there’s no shortage of examples of overcoming adversity. Need a quick pick-me-up? Find inspirational quotes to post on your mirror or fridge. Proactively feed your mind the same way you feed your body and you’ll change your entire state.

8. Elevate your peer group

Surround yourself with people who also want to grow. Success stories can help you learn how to overcome adversity – but all the research in the world won’t help if you’re surrounding yourself with people who aren’t growing the way you are. As Tony says, “The quality of a person’s life is most often a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.” 

You are who you hang out with. If you want to bounce back from challenges, live optimistically and stay focused, you need to surround yourself with people who support you and are actively working on doing the same in their own lives. Stay away from people who will hold you back.

9. Get a coach

Overcoming adversity takes just the right blend of positivity, realism, passion and real-life skills. Combine these things with your inner strength and a strong outer support system to elevate your life. A Results Coach can help you balance it all and stay on track. They’re professionally trained in the art of overcoming adversity. They can give you the mix of guidance, goal setting and tough love you need to get through tough times and come out the other side stronger and wiser. A coach is trained to help people learn how to overcome adversity and become the best version of themselves.

 10. Don’t give up

As Tony says, “persistence overshadows even talent as the most valuable resource shaping the quality of life.” Some good real-life examples of overcoming adversity include when surfer Mick Fanning got back on his surfboard just six days after a shark attack, or when Stephen King’s classic novel Carrie was rejected 30 times. When Thomas Edison tested thousands of methods before making a successful lightbulb, he did not quit. In fact, he famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s the perfect way to sum up how to overcome adversity.

Adversity happens to everyone but it doesn’t need to derail our lives. Learning how to overcome adversity is a life skill that everyone must master. We just need to learn how to handle it in a way that will bring us to the other side without exhausting us. Learn more tips on how to overcome adversity and master every area of your life through Tony Robbins Inner Circle or one of his signature events, like Unleash the Power Within, Date With Destiny or Life Mastery. When you feed your mind with positive thoughts and stories, amazing things will happen.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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