1.Think about what would be different. When life throws you a curve ball, it’s tempting to think about all the things that would be much better if it hadn’t. If I hadn’t flunked that test, I wouldn’t be studying for retakes right now. If I hadn’t missed the train, I wouldn’t be waiting for the next one in the rain right now. Try tipping that thinking on its head and asking what’s good right now because of the mess up. As a result of cramming for the exams twice, I’ll really know my subject inside out. By missing that train, I may have got soaked, but I am enjoying a stunning rainbow, plus I have a great excuse to get into my pyjamas and drink hot chocolate when I get home.
2. Look for the lesson. Some believe hardship is the universe’s way of teaching us something we need to learn. I simply believe that in any situation, we can choose to look for the lesson. Standing in a queue is a chance to practice patience (or read a book!). Difficulties with a demanding manager are a chance to learn how to stand up for yourself in a professional context. An argument with a spouse can be the path to an open and vulnerable conversation about recurring issues that ultimately teaches you how to respect each other more and act more lovingly.
3. Use what you discover. When faced with troubles and difficulties, consider the ways in which, one day (perhaps in the far, far distant future), what you are going through now will serve you. Perhaps money worries will turn you into a more careful spender and assiduous saver. Maybe heartache will make you slow down in relationships and ensure the person you date is really worthy of your time and effort. Everything that happens to us is contributing to making us the person we will become. I choose to see the building blocks of future me in both my achievements and my struggles.