As students settle in at Sunshine Coast Karate and develop a relationship with us we are often asked for advice.  One of the most common questions that have come up is how do you deal with adversity?  When students have asked this question they have also demonstrated a more delicate and vulnerable state as I have myself when I have sought advice from others. 

Sometimes we just want to be told what to do.  We want to be saved by someone else’s good ideas or good deeds.  We want to close our eyes and when we re-open them we hope that the challenge will miraculously disappear.  Sometimes we just need someone to listen and simply offer compassion.

The more I seek to understand adversity in my life, I am becoming more appreciative of its ‘presence’ and it’s ‘presents’. The unique combination of adversities that I have endured in my life have paved the way for the life I live now. 

At the time of navigating the storms of adversities I haven’t necessarily felt comfortable, but I have always come through the storm feeling strengthened.  When I move through a storm it’s as if my entire being is being broken down into pieces.  The pieces that are going to serve me are kept and the pieces that are not serving me are discarded.  The magic happens when the remaining pieces are pulled back together forming the new and improved me.  This process leaves me strengthened with a renewal of energy to proceed to the next part of my life.

How do I deal with adversity?  My answer to this question continues to be fine tuned as I acquire more life experience however there are some underlying ideas that have remained.   Here are my top 3.

1. Remain ‘Calm’: Some of the greatest and most beneficial words of advice can be spoken in one or two words.  Yet, to implement in our lives can be difficult.  Calmness is certainly a great path forward if you can achieve this state and detach from the emotional roller coaster. Give “calmness” a go next time you are faced with a challenge.  The more you deliberately utilise calmness to deal with adversity you will strengthen and in time you will eventually be able to stay calm.  How do you remain calm?  Consider starting with your breathing.

2.  Breathe well: Take time to deliberately slow down and breathe throughout your day. If you can, do your breathing whilst amongst nature. I find for myself and the majority of people I have helped (all ages) tend to respond better if they focus on listening to their breathe. And soon after, bring the focus onto feeling the breathe fill the body and leave the body.  When my children were younger I likened it to breathing in ‘all the good stuff’ and ‘letting go of all the bad stuff’.  When you breathe, think about the breathe, hear it, feel it, direct it (vary the rhythm), completely immerse yourself in your breathing.  Allow your breathe to re-connect you with a more harmonious state and a state of clarity where you can make more informed decisions.

3.  Posture: Be aware and direct your posture to positively enhance your state. When you think of posture, also consider your eyes.  When you look straight ahead are you looking down, up or straight ahead?  Often when we find ourselves feeling challenged we’ll lower our eyes, which can collapse our posture.  When we collapse our posture we lose full benefit of our breathing and reduce the ability to produce a more positive and alert state. 

And here are a few more ideas that you may also find helpful when it comes to dealing with adversity.

4.  Water intake: Are you getting enough water?  I’m sure you are asking why would we include water?  Maybe you can give it a go and find out.

5.  Momentum: Keep ‘turning up’, keep the wheels turning one day at a time.

6.  Perspective:  Know that this current challenge is going to strengthen you from the inside out and that there is a gift.  If you want to think about the challenge, think about how it is strengthening you and how you will reveal the gift sometime soon. All of which will propel you to greater heights.

7.  Trust: You need to know and trust that the season will change.  You’ll move in and out of all seasons.  Respect and appreciate the seasons of your life and in your training journey. Learn what you can do in each season to position you for greater adventures and experiences.  After all, this is your life to live to the fullest.

8.  Always be a student: Allow yourself to be energised by opening up your mind and learn something new everyday. 

9.  Lead by example:  Actions speak louder than words. Actions are known to create a sense of victory, freedom, and confidence within us.  There is something special about a person that can not only offer guidance to others but also step up and lead by example.

10.  Help Others:  Sometimes it’s best to simply let your challenge go especially when it is pulling you down and imprisoning you in your life.   Choose to focus your efforts on how you can help someone else with your skills.  Be a blessing to another.  What is one random act of kindness you can do today?

11.  Time: Sometimes it is simply just a matter of time which heals some of our deepest wounds so hang in there.  Think positive and be positive. 

12.  You are not alone: Although at times you may feel alone, know that you aren’t.  We care very much about all of our students and if you ever need an ear to listen, you know how to connect with us. 

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones
out of stumbling blocks.”  ~ Jack Penn