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“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” –Napoleon Hill

Most tragedies never make the news. Say, your eyes have been set on the peak of high achievement. Life has been good, except for the occasional bumps. Then, out of the blues, something happens, leaving you devastated. Your life comes crashing down:

  • You make a mistake that costs you big time.
  • The relationship you cherished breaks down.
  • Your best friend betrays you.
  • You are buried in the frustration of losing a job.
  • You contort in the pain of a life-threatening illness.
  • The once-thriving business faces imminent failure.
  • You are wrongly accused or discriminated against.
  • You get into difficulties that could ruin you financially.
  • A loved one is involved in a fatal accident.
  • You discover that your partner has been unfaithful.
  • Your once happy family is falling apart.

You want to hope and dream again, but you feel crushed under the weight of the challenging circumstances. You feel overwhelmed by doubt, despair, guilt, shame, and fear. The horizon you once dreamt of now seems impossible to achieve. You are tired. Fatigued. Hurting. Depleted of energy, physically and emotionally. You are about to explode.

Can you rise from the ashes? Can you put the pieces back together? Can you overcome the overwhelming obstacles?

You want to be alone: to grieve, to feel sorry for yourself, or just to scream.

Yes, bad things do happen to good people. The question, then, is: is it possible to create something beautiful out of a brutal challenge? Here are five tips for turning your pain into personal value:

  1. Nurture resilience – True, your suffering is real. So is resilience. Just as physical fitness is essential, so is emotional fitness. Make the nurture of your emotions a discipline you exercise regularly… before adversity knocks on your door.
  2. Find the lesson – Whether to become overwhelmed by the drawback or learn from it is a choice you make. View your adversity as a temporary setback, one from which you can learn valuable lessons. Then muster the courage to move on towards your dreams.
  3. Reach out – Do you have a trusted relationship, someone who can help you calm your nerves and evaluate issues honestly and objectively? Someone who can walk with you as you navigate the difficult terrain? Seek them.
  4. Regain control – Setbacks can inflict psychological injuries that take away your confidence, making you feel helpless and hopeless. You can override the defeatism that you feel by asserting control of your mind and by changing your perspective.
  5. Reinvent your future – In the face of adversity, focus the little energy left to a new path, to a new dream, to a new goal. When you have choices, you don’t feel trapped in your circumstances; life goes on.

Life will always have a myriad of fiery challenges. Put conscious effort to be the strongest self you can be. I hope you flourish.

Copyright ©2014 David Waweru

David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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