How to push through tough times

Author: Thato Tinte

Managing a challenging situation

‘When life hands you a bad hand, you keep playing.’


Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford and J.K. Rowling are all real-life examples of the saying, ‘what doesn’t kill, you make you stronger!’


They’re testaments to the idea that ‘When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.’


But if we put the platitudes aside, this list of techniques has been proven to help us push through times of adversity.


1. Find your humour

A sense of humour is integral in coping with setbacks.


Research – including studies from the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing and the Journal of Neuroscience – shows that laughing triggers many healthy physical and emotional changes in the body such as reduced stress, anxiety and depression and an increased overall sense of well-being.


In one Norwegian study referenced in Psychosomatic Medicine, people with a strong sense of humour were found to outlive those who didn’t laugh as much – and this difference was particularly notable in those battling cancer, cardiovascular disease and infection.


One certainty of life is that there will be uncertainties. Often it is your humour that will help you weather these storms.


2. Be one step ahead

It’s no secret, times are tough.


So much so that many businesses are cutting costs or restructuring to remain afloat.


To survive this ever-changing business landscape, employees (now more than ever) need to be proactive about the future of the businesses and departments they’re a part of.


In the book, The Worst-Case Scenario Business Survival Guide, authors, David Borgenicht and Mark Joyner recommend we arm ourselves with tools that will ensure our businesses and careers can survive through any crisis.


Granted, this means momentarily dwelling on negative possibilities – but it is this foresight that will enable us to plan for those “unforeseen” emergencies.


Mentally prepare and map out a plan for the best course of action should your organisation undergo a “worst-case scenario” (be it in HR or finance) – it could be the difference between victory and defeat.


3. Don’t give up

It’s cliched and may sound obvious, but the reality is, when we’re facing adversity in real time, we tend to forget this.


While failure is inevitable, those who rebound from it ultimately taste success.


Albert Einstein – couldn’t find work in physics after graduating.


Walt Disney – fired from his first job for “lacking creativity”.


The Beatles – rejected by Decca Records and labelled “a band with no future in showbusiness”.


You may not realise it when it happens, but failure is not about losing, it’s about learning.


It is your grit and tenacity that will get you through the next “tough” time.


4. Make peace with the situation

It’s pointless to beat yourself up over situations you can’t control.


Your ability to move on can only come when you make peace with the situation.


Deep Patel, business writer and author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, gives this suggestion in Entrepreneur:


“Spend time processing what’s happened, take responsibility for your actions and then move on. If you’ve done everything you could, have considered every possible option there is and there’s still nothing else you can do, be okay with admitting defeat and carry on with your life.”




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