How to Make the Most of a Bad Situation

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If you are reading this, you are either going through a tough situation or, you are about to be.  We’ve all been there.  Financial difficulties, relationship troubles, or career struggles, there are many situations that we come across in life that try their best to break us.

Although these situations are sometimes unavoidable, there are ways we can benefit from them.  I know what you are thinking, “There is no way that there could be any benefit from this!”.

Trust me, I’ve said the same thing. When we are going through tough times, we sometimes want to do everything possible to get ourselves out.  Although I do think we should work hard to change a situation that we do not want to be in, I think there are many things you can do while you are in the situation that will benefit you in the long wrong.  That is what this article is about.

Here are some common bad situations that you may have experienced:

Dead end job-You might be stuck in a job or career that you do not care about or feel as though is not your purpose in life.

Being broke-Perhaps you can never seem to keep money in your bank account.  It seems that no matter what you do, you never have enough to pay your bills and expenses.

Life Not Moving-It may seem like your life is not progressing in the direction you want. You are getting older and time is passing, but you don’t seem to be getting any closer to getting the things you want.

Broken Relationships-Maybe you were in a relationship that you thought would last forever but instead you are trying to pick up the pieces.

Personal Mistakes-You made a mistake that you wish you could go back in time to erase.  Since you can’t, you’re stuck to live with the consequences.


The Quicksand VS Quick Drying Cement Method

When things happen in life, particularly challenges, we usually have one of two reacts to them. We can be like quicksand or quick drying cement.  We can let them make an impression on us or we can allow them to surround and swallow us.  Some of the most effective people I know have the ability to act like cement rather than quicksand.

If you don’t know what quicksand is, it is a granular material consisting of sand, mud, and water.  It appears solid but after a disturbance, the water in sand begins to separate.  Because of this separation, a person stepping quicksand would start to sink.  The curious thing about quicksand is if you were to struggle when you are stuck, would make it harder for you to get out.

Quick drying cement is used in construction but is not as dangerous since a person has 15 to 45 minutes to get themselves out if stuck.  Simple white sugar added to the cement will delay the hardening.  Most of the time, objects that touch the cement do not get stuck but just leave an impression.

The negative things that happen in our lives should touch us and initiate a reaction but should get sucked in to the point that they are a part of us. Some people refuse to let those things go.  They hold on to them until it is just dead weight.

We can either react like we are in quicksand or in quick drying cement.  Having a quick drying cement reaction will allow those things to help mold you are but will not allow them to define who you are.  Then and only then, will you be able to make the most of your situation.


Develop a Positive Preoccupation

Like most people, I have been in less than ideal situation.  When people usually get in these types of situations they usually begin taking on negative habits and activities.  But this doesn’t do any good.  It tends to make things worse.

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the main character Andy Dufrane was wrongly imprisoned in a brutal prison for a crime he did not commit.  The former Banker was locked up with killers, thieves and rapists. Instead of shaving his head bald and becoming one of them, he turned his interest in rock carving, reading, and music into his preoccupation.

His positive preoccupations eventually made a huge difference in the lives of his fellow inmates and made his unfortunate circumstance more bearable.

Instead of becoming like your negative situation, become preoccupied with a positive aspect of your situation.  Begin to develop new habits and skills.  Having a positive preoccupation allows you the opportunity to become a new person.



Learn What Not To Do

There are some circumstances when people are the general cause of your bad situation.  This can sometimes happen when you have co-workers or bosses that make the situation worse.  Learning how not to react in the same way as they are can be a valuable life lesson.

I once worked for someone who was a not a great example of what a leader should be.  She didn’t appreciate or reward her employees and often made business decisions that didn’t make any sense.  While working for this person, it would’ve been easy for me to criticize and complain every day that I worked there.

Instead, I watched very closely to how her leadership style was affecting the morale of the department.  I knew that if I were ever in that position, I would not react the same way.  When I finally had the opportunity to be in leadership positions, I would watch myself to make sure I was not making the same mistakes as my former boss.

Take the situation that is challenging and learn what not to do.  Experience is the best teacher but that experience doesn’t have to yours.


What It Is and What It Could Be

Humans have been gifted with extraordinary imaginations.  But sometimes we allow our imaginations to run away with us.  Negative events happen to us all the time but by the time our minds interpret what happen, it seems bigger and badder than it really is.

Look at your situation for what it really is instead of what you imagination has made it out to be. Experiencing a failing or setback doesn’t mean you are doomed to never succeed or that you are a failure just like stopping at a red light doesn’t mean you will never drive forward again.

Is that break up the end of love for you or is it an opportunity to find someone who makes you happy and is a better match for you?   Is this unemployment the end of your professional career or is it a chance for you to grow as a person and professional?  Are those classes you are taking designed to destroy you or could they be there to increase your brain’s ability to overcome and become tougher?  It is up to you to decide.


The Critical Point- “Search for The Opportunity”

I once heard motivational speaker say that the word “crisis” in Chinese is translated “opportunity”. You may have heard that somewhere as well.  It’s a very encouraging thought.  Too bad its not true.

A more accurate translation for crisis is “critical point”.  This may seem like a bummer for you if you’ve always believed the “opportunity” misconception but in my opinion, the term critical point makes more sense.  Many people run from their bad situation but never realize how important it is to learn from it as well as find opportunity within that situation.

Critical point means “vital” or “important” place.  Whenever you are in a bad situation, you are in place where you have to make a decision.  Will your situation overtake you, or will you search for opportunities within that situation?

I’m sure you’ve heard many times that there are always opportunities in adversity.  This is very true. However, most people miss opportunity because they are not looking for it.  Instead some people tend to think that opportunity is just going to make itself known with them having to do anything.

Begin to search for opportunities in a negative situation.  The situation creates a critical point where you will either seek an opportunity or be consumed by your circumstance. It is always your choice.


Escape and Revisit

When times are particularly challenging, try stepping away from the situation for while in order to clear your mind.  This could mean taking a short vacation, taking a day off to be alone with your thoughts or maybe just going to a quiet park.  Whatever you decided to do, escape your situation can help get you on the road to bouncing back.

Once you’ve re-energized yourself by escaping the situation, you can revisit the circumstance and see it in a whole new light.  Your escape can help you approach your situation differently. The time away can also serve as a time of rest so that you can persist again and again to change your circumstance.


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