Life can be a series of challenges that come in all shapes and sizes. They test our patience, inner strength, and beliefs. These tough times can be hard, but there are ways to deal with them successfully. If you’re going through a challenging time, you are not alone. This article will help you learn how to overcome the challenges you face now, or those that may come your way in the future.
If you or someone close to you is going through a challenge at the moment, it is likely to be in one of the main 3 areas of life:
- Finances. It could be a financial or business challenge – losing your job, being made redundant, or dealing with debt.
- Health. It could be a health challenge – an unexpected illness or chronic illness that gives you a feeling that there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.
- Relationships. It could be a divorce or a breakup, loneliness or difficulties with your children or a family member.
Challenges are difficult to overcome. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t tough or if the solution was obvious and easy. We all go through struggles. Some people more than others, but we all go through difficult times in life. We cannot escape challenges, but we can choose how we respond to them. We can also choose the meaning that we give to those challenges.
In this article, I will help you learn how to overcome challenges more easily. I will also provide some useful tips on how to minimize the chances of adversity and challenges happening in the 3 main areas of your life.
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1. Gain a Sense of Perspective
When learning how to overcome challenges, remember that it is not the challenge itself, but your perception and interpretation of it that gives you negative thoughts and feelings. A great way to change your perspective is to imagine it from someone else’s eyes.
- How would your best friend overcome this challenge?
- How would someone you admire view this challenge?
- What would they think about it?
- What meaning would that person give to this challenge?
- How would they act to overcome the challenge?
- What would they do that could be different to the way you’re dealing with it?
Another great way to do this is to imagine your challenge from a different location. For example, looking at it from the top of a mountain. You’ll find that it feels different! The level of negative emotions reduce.
2. Reframe It—Change the Meaning
A great way to reframe is to ask questions because when you ask questions, your mind is forced to give you an answer. But there are good questions and bad questions.
Here are some bad questions that you might say to yourself:
- Why did this happen to me?
- Why did this person do this to me?
These are bad questions to ask because the answers are likely to be outside of your control. And keep you looped in the problem, rather than providing a solution or way out.
Good questions could be:
- What can I learn from this challenge?
- What is great about this?
- How did I get here?
- How can I find the support that I need to overcome this challenge?
If you listen carefully, when you ask these questions, you will get useful answers that will help you move forward.
3. Focus on the Positive
Focus on the areas of your life that are going well. If there’s one area of your life that’s challenging at the moment, let’s say it’s your finances, then look at the other areas that are going well, like your health or your relationships. That will help put this challenging situation into perspective and make it a smaller part of your life.
Our brains are wired for negativity. It is our survival mechanism. We look for threats; we look for dangers and things that we fear. Psychologists call this “negativity bias”. Pretty much everyone, even the most successful people in the world, sometimes think negatively. It is a part of the human condition.
When we sit in a chair, we can slouch or sit up. It often seems easier to slouch. Likewise, it’s easier to think negatively about something then to think positively because positivity requires extra effort, the same as sitting up in a chair.
Thinking negatively is the easiest default thing for us to do. To reduce this natural tendency, you need to focus consciously on what is positive and good. Start appreciating all the things that are going well in your life.
4. Take Responsibility
You may not be responsible for the challenge that is happening in your life. It can be something that is completely outside of your control. But now that you are in this situation, you are 100% responsible for the action you take. This is a good thing because it gives you choices and options, and you’ll feel more in control.
If you act as a victim and blame someone else, you are not taking responsibility. That’s a good clue. If you notice yourself doing that, you need to take that responsibility back. Taking responsibility is key in discovering how to overcome challenges.
5. Reach Out to Others
When life is challenging and hard. When life really sucks, it’s very easy to go solitary. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity, and that’s not a good thing to do. What you want to do instead is reach out to people that care about you and love you.
Humans are not designed to overcome challenges alone. Other people can give you a different perspective. They can reframe things for you, they can change the meaning, and help you with the practical steps to resolve it. So surround yourself with positive people as much as you can. People that can listen and help you get through this. You don’t have to go through challenges alone.
6. Focus and Visualize What You Want
When life is difficult, it is very easy to focus on things that are not working. If you focus on the problem alone, you make it bigger in your imagination and that keeps you stuck.
Remember, there is almost always an endpoint. There’s almost always a solution. A time when things will get better. Often there is something far better waiting for you on the other side of this challenge!
A great way to help you focus on what you want is to ask yourself:
- What is the magical solution?
- If I could wave a magic wand and this whole challenge could go away, what would that be like?
- What would I have instead?
Imagine that now! It may seem very unbelievable at the moment, but it will help your mind focus on the solution.
Let’s say you’ve just lost your job. The magical solution of finding another job might seem unbelievable. But if you focus on that, it will become a reality. If you are going through a divorce, the thought of being in another relationship might seem highly unlikely at the moment. But if you focus on that idea, it can become more and more a part of your future.
I can think of many times in my life where I’ve been in a difficult situation and thought the things I wanted were miles and miles away. In most cases, what I wanted happened. It seemed unbelievable at first, but I achieved it. You can do it, too! The issue is that when you’re going through challenging times, you don’t believe that you can.
Remember to focus on what you want, even if that seems a million miles away right now. When you focus on what you want, the part of the brain called the reticular activating system comes into action. And it notices situations, events, and opportunities that could help bring that into your life.
It only does this when you think about what you want. So visualize yourself overcoming the challenge and notice how that feels. Get a sense of that new feeling. Focus on it and maintain it as a part of your vision. This will give you more of the inner strength you need to overcome the challenge.
7. Let Go
Let go of limiting beliefs, doubts, destructive patterns and negative emotions. Sometimes, you need to experience emotions before letting them go. Get a sense of them in your body. It’s okay to be sad when things are difficult. But once you’ve done that, be willing to let those emotions go. And a great way to do that is to use the Sedona method questions.
- Could I let this go?
- Could I let this belief go?
- Could I let this feeling go?
If your answer is yes, then ask yourself the next question, which is:
- Am I willing to let this go?
- Am I willing to let this belief, this doubt, this person go?
Again, you will either answer yes or no. If you say yes, then ask yourself:
The “when question” is actually an invitation to release it immediately. Imagine that emotion coming out of your body right now.
If you get a “No” to any of these questions, ask yourself:
- What is holding me back from letting go of this right now?
- Could I release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
- Am I willing to release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
- And if so, when?
If you want to find out more about this method, you can read about it in more detail in my Sedona method article.
8. Start Journaling
Write down all the thoughts that are in your head right now. Why? Because writing gets it out of your head and helps you separate yourself from the challenge. It also helps you gain a different sense of perspective.
The interesting thing about journaling is that it uses your conscious mind, but reduces the effects of the unconscious emotional mind. It helps you process and reduce the emotions you’re feeling right now. It gives you mental clarity and enables you to see the bigger picture. All these things can reduce stress and anxiety that come from your challenge.
Make journaling a key part of your process in uncovering how to overcome challenges in your life.
9. Take Small Steps in the Right Direction
If you’re experiencing a challenging time, it’s possible that you feel overwhelmed by the challenge. It may seem insurmountable, and you may wonder how you will ever overcome it. I know what that feeling is like. And one thing that has really helped me in the past is setting small goals.
Set small goals, achieve them, and then congratulate yourself when you do it. That will give you a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense that you’re making progress. Over the weeks and months, you’ll notice how you are steadily overcoming the challenge. You will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will experience greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
9. Plan and Make Good Decisions
Here are some useful tips to help you minimize the chances of having challenges or adversities in your life. We can’t completely stop them, but sometimes with a bit of foresight, the right decisions, good planning, and some consistency, we can minimize the chances of them happening.
First, make wise decisions about your career. Whatever you decide to do with your career, remember it will be long term. So make sure that the decisions you make are the ones that will make you happy and fulfilled and that you will enjoy what you do in your work and career.
Second, think about your relationship. Are you with your soulmate? Are you with the person who makes you ultimately happy, or have you settled for a relationship out of fear of being lonely? Again, you will be with that person for a long time, so make sure you make a good decision.
As for your health, remember that whilst some health problems come out of the blue, many of them are predictable. If you’ve been eating poorly for many years, then it may not be a surprise if you find yourself dealing with obesity, heart disease or diabetes later in life. These things are predictable.
And the same with money. If you’re not saving regularly, then when another recession happens, and it will at some point, you will have money problems. But if you’ve been saving consistently, then you’ll have that financial buffer necessary to deal with a year or even more of unemployment.
You can see how planning and making good decisions can help minimize many of these challenging situations in life. When you do this, the importance of knowing how to overcome challenges diminishes.
I will finish with a quote from Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. He says: “There will be many obstacles placed in front of you during your lifetime. And you can determine the size of a person by the size of the problem that keeps them down.”
Successful people look at a problem and see the opportunity. And here is one simple, but inspiring quote from Eckhart Tolle: “This too shall pass.” Whatever the obstacle, whatever the challenge is in your life at the moment, remember that this too shall pass.
I hope this article helped you learn how to overcome challenges. As always, put all that you have learned into practice and notice how capable you are of overcoming all your challenges and gaining a greater control over your life.
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