Not every situation in life is easy or pleasant to go through. There will be times where you lose patience, motivation, and even your temper. People will push your buttons, life will throw seemingly impossible odds your way, or things simply won’t go the way they planned. Making the best of these situations helps reduce the negative impact they have on your life, and helps push you past the situation itself into what lies beyond. Learning patience and discipline can go a long way in helping to navigate life’s hardships, but these six tips will help you make the best of every situation you come across.
- Understand Your Role in the Situation
When things go poorly, it’s almost instinctual for us to blame someone or something other than ourselves. That’s not to say other people or environmental factors are never to blame, but this practice only leads to further stress and often anger when we start pointing fingers. Whether the situation is directly linked to your choices or not, you still fulfilled a role of some kind in the unfolding events. Even if you were just a bystander, you still had a role, albeit a minor one, in what happened.
Knowing your role in what goes on around you is absolutely critical to making the best of the situation. Without self-awareness, you’ll constantly point fingers and shift the blame to the nearest person, situation, or event. The fact is, things happen that are out of our control, but we almost always play a direct or indirect role in the outcome of the situation. How you handle a situation directly impacts how much that particular situation affects your life.
- Know What You Want
Many situations become chaotic simply because those involved don’t know what they want out of it. Failing to understand what ambition is to you can leave you without direction or purpose when challenges arise. What’s your motivation? What can you do that will not only help you gain some value from the current situation, but also help further align you with your goals? Being clear with your wants and ambitions can help you navigate even the toughest situations, and take value from the challenges they present.
Knowing what you want starts with understanding your motivation. What drives you to do better? Why do you want to reach the goals you’ve set? How will they affect your life? Once you understand your personal motivation, what you want becomes abundantly clear, even during life’s most violent storms. Don’t be afraid to express your wants or desires, either. This is courage in its own right, as many people hide their vision from the world for fear of rejection.
- Set Clear Boundaries
When you’re dealing with people, one of the best ways to make the most out of a situation is to have clear boundaries. Boundaries are what helps us maintain our personal identity and our confidence. Without clearly defined boundaries, people tend to take advantage of, abuse, or otherwise mistreat you more because you haven’t set the standard for how you should be treated.
Boundaries equal respect. When someone truly loves and respects you, following your guidelines is a non-issue, simply because they’re part of who you are as a person. You should never let someone repeatedly violate your personal boundaries, as they can quickly become toxic and abusive in any situation. Setting boundaries will help you maintain your confidence through all of life’s challenges and make the most out of situations that don’t go as planned.
- Find the Value in the Situation
This doesn’t mean “finding the silver lining”, but rather finding the true value of the situation you’re in. Even the worst, most painful situations carry some kind of value, and identifying that value is the key to navigating the situation well and gaining something from having gone through it. If we go through life’s obstacles without taking value from them, they become meaningless; simple blockages with no real purpose. Every single obstacle in life has value, and identifying that value is simple when you know what questions to ask.
Ask yourself this when faced with a difficult situation:
- What about this situation made me the most upset/uncomfortable?
- What can I learn from dealing with those emotions and the situation at hand?
- What role did I play in the situation, and what role did others play?
- Did the other people in the situation add toxicity or value to the struggle?
- When I’m through the situation, what will I want to remember most about it?
- Walk Away
Sometimes, the best thing to do in a situation is to just walk away. This doesn’t mean you’re running from your problems, but rather turning your back on negativity or toxicity. Situations aren’t always solvable, and when you’re dealing with toxic people, the only real value you can get from the situation is the value of leaving them behind. Some people simply aren’t worth the endless blood, sweat, and tears you put into the relationship.
- Be Adaptable
The ability to adapt to changing environments, people, and new situations, is a critical skill that everyone should master. Adaptability has kept humans alive and thriving for millennia, and it’s one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. Being able to adapt helps you become comfortable with uncomfortable situations and presents a clear mindset during hardship; which can be vital to successfully navigating it.
The Bottom Line
Not every situation is pretty, but every situation carries value of some kind. Identify the value, adapt to the situation, and most of all, know when to just walk away. Once you master these skills, you’ll be able to make the most out of anything life throws at you.