Going through life is like riding a roller-coaster, sometimes you experience the thrill, and sometimes you experience the twists and turns that make you feel a headache. Life is not going to be a normal ride; there will be ups and downs, peaks and valleys.
Sometimes you feel driven and motivated, and sometimes you feel totally down and feel like a loser. There are also times when you accomplish amazing things and achieve your goals, and there are also times when you hit the roadblocks and facing the challenges and unsure if you are on the right path.
Just like what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford, “Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
It is great to understand that life is a series of seasons. You can experience the best the world has to offer in one moment, and at the other, the worst life can hit you with.
However, please understand that it is not what you go through that defines you, it is how you deal with them.
My friend, it is your choice and your decision that make your life. It is what you do that makes you, you.
So choose to do the right thing to live a remarkable and meaningful life. Here are the 20 great suggestions what you can do when life gets hard.
1. Understand that things will change
One of the most important keys to go through hard times in life is to understand that things will never stay the same forever. If you are facing some tough times right now, don’t worry because things will never stay the same.
It can never rain forever, right?
Once the rain is over, the sun will come out and shine on you. Just endure the challenges and the good times will come.
Study the history and you will understand that things will change from time to time. Look at the stock market, it can never go up and up forever, nor can it go down all the time. It will rebound when the time is right.
The same goes for your life. Things may not stay the same for the long-term. When you are facing difficult times, understand that they are not here to stay, but to come to pass.
2. It is a necessary step
Yes, difficult times, challenges, setbacks, failures, and defeats are a necessary step in life. Regardless of whom you are or what you want to accomplish in life, these are the common things that you need to go through. It is a norm of life.
Take it as a challenge, as a test from God, and as a stepping stone to your success. How do you think Thomas Edison was able to discover the filament to make the light bulb works? Well, it was through failures.
Without failures, there will never be successes. Failures, defeats, and challenges are what contributes to success and achievement. You learn the most when you fail.
In fact, humans have learned, achieved, and evolved much more from their failures than their successes. Look at extraordinary people like Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, etc, they were able to achieve outstanding results in life because they went through the tough times and learn from there. It is a necessary step, my friend.
3. Look from a positive point of view
This may be easier said than done. But the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining” is true. You can’t see the positive in the situation because you haven’t found it yet.
Napoleon Hill, the best-selling author of Think and Grow Rich once said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
Richard Branson discovered the idea to start an airline because he was stranded in an airport due to his flight being canceled. He was frustrated with the problem, but he chose to look from the positive side and chartered a plane. And that was how he got the idea to start an airline.
Steve Jobs said that dropping out from his college was one of the best things in his life because he got to sit into classes that interest him, which he managed to learn beautiful calligraphy that Mac uses today.
So look at the problem from a positive point of view and welcome frustration. You know it very well that every problem and difficulty contains an opportunity to learn and grow. Thus, just face it with courage and a smile.
4. There are no failures, only lessons
From what you have learned above, there are no failures, only lessons. Even if you can’t find the opportunity hidden within the problem, it is alright as long as you treat the failure as a feedback and fail forward.
The problem is that most people choose to look at failure as a defeat rather than a feedback and learn from it. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall as long as you choose to get up and learn the lesson.
If you are a parent, are you going to stop your baby from trying to walk because she falls? Not at all, in fact, you will encourage her to walk and even teach her the proper way. Hence, remember the same principle in your life as an adult to learn from your failure.
5. Focus on what you can control
Sometimes, situations are beyond our control and no matter what we do, we cannot change a thing. And if you cannot change the situation, why worry? And if you can change it, then just do it.
I know that this is easier said than done, but it is a fact that every one of us must accept. We need to learn to focus on what we can control.
Many times, when a problem occurs, people focus on the problem and are trying to blame or find an excuse to get away from the problem. Do not do this. Instead, choose to focus on the solution and what you can control.
When you fail to achieve your goal or your target, just learn from the situation and focus on what you can do right now. Stop spending time thinking about the problem, the defeat, or trying to find out who to blame. Work on the solution, my friend.
6. God has a better plan for you
Sometimes when life gets hard, you have to know that perhaps, God has a better plan for you. I’m not saying that you should give up or quit, but rather, choose to believe that God has something better for you in store.
Maybe God wants you to learn something that will change your life for the better forever. Or maybe God is testing your determination to see if it is something that you truly want. Or perhaps God is trying to show you another path to achieve something with greater returns. You just need to believe that something better is coming.
When you truly believe that something better is on your way, you will feel excited and thrilled rather than feeling worried and frustrated. And when you feel good, you will often find the right path or the solution to your problems.
7. Reignite your motivation
Another important thing you can do whenever you are facing hard times in life is to reignite your motivation. While it is true that you cannot solely depend on motivation because it comes and goes, but sometimes, you need it to go through tough times.
What you can do is to revisit your purpose. Ask yourself why do you do what you do and always remind yourself of your purpose in life.
More importantly, you can practice visualization and affirmation to keep yourself driven and stay on track. Listen to motivational songs and read inspirational materials like this one.
When your level of motivation is high, you will ask better questions even during tough times, such as instead of asking “Why me”, you will say “Try me”.
8. Step out and look from a third-party perspective
It will be difficult when you are feeling stuck and looking at your situation from your own point of view may not help much. Therefore, step out and try to think from a third-person perspective. Look at the situation from another person’s point of view and see if you can find any angle of attack or any solution to your challenges.
When you are lost in the jungle, one of the methods to find your direction is to get to a higher ground and look at the place from a bird-eye view. And the same can be applied to your life. When you are feeling lost or facing some hard times in life, get yourself out of the mess and step outside, and then look at the situation from a bigger perspective.
You have to free your mind and think from a different angle. Trying to figure out a way to get out of a maze when you are in the maze can be difficult. However, when you look from the outside, things are clear.
9. Work through the worst-case scenario
Yes, ask yourself what is the worst-case scenario here. What is the worst that can happen? And you will often find that the worst is not as bad as you imagine. And usually, it is not a matter of life and death.
Once you understand that things are not as bad as you imagined, you will feel calm and more at peace. This is when you can become creative and make better decisions.
People are often feeling that life is hard because they are too obsessed with the fears that they imagined in their head, which most likely are not going to happen. Remember, life is hard because you are being too rigid or are trying to hold on to something too tightly. It is your attitude of how you look at the situation that determines if your life is hard or easy.
When you understand that the worst is not as bad, and you can still survive regardless of whatever happens, you will feel much better.
10. Express gratitude
To put it simple, being grateful means showing your appreciation for everything in your life. You appreciate whatever you have, and this act makes you feel good and is at peace.
Many studies have been conducted on this subject and found that express gratitude is one of the keys to living a good life. When you appreciate what you have, you feel wealthy with what you have. When you don’t appreciate what you have in life, you feel like you are living in poverty and everything is not enough no matter how much you actually have.
When life gets hard, write down the things that you are grateful for in life. You can even express your appreciation by calling someone you are grateful for and tell him or her about it.
After doing this, you will discover that the challenges and difficulties you face become less significant when they are compared to everything great that you have in your life right now.
11. Realize that you are not alone
Realize that you are not alone in this world. If you are having tough times with you financial right now, notice that there are other people who are battling even tougher situation than you.
No matter what you go through in life, there is always someone going through the same thing or even worse than what you’re facing right now. So you are not alone.
And because of this, it is not the end of the world. When you feel like a failure, think of someone who has gone through even more difficult situations than you and who are able to bounce back stronger.
A great example for this is the motivational speaker, Les Brown. He has been labeled as “education mentally retarded” since young and has gone through many tough times on his journey to success. He has slept and bathed in his office before, he was rejected and failed many times, and he bought a house for his mother, but has to go a foreclosure due to financial constraints.
As you can see, there are many people out there who have gone through life that is hard too. But these people never give up and continue moving forward despite going against all the odds. So you are not alone my friend. Learn and get inspired by these extraordinary people. Read Les Brown’s book, Live Your Dreams and learn to say “Yes” to life.
12. Share your story with someone else
Whenever life gets hard, find someone and share your story with. However, be selective and share your story with someone who will support you and not someone who tries to drag you down.
Everyone needs someone by their side from time to time. Nobody can survive alone in this world. This is especially true when you are facing some challenging times and you needed the encouragement from others.
You can choose to share your stories with people you know like your friends and family, and also with strangers in forums or groups.
One very important key to remember is that not everyone will understand your situation and you should not listen to what everyone has to say, especially advice from strangers. Only choose to listen to positive and constructive advice. Otherwise, just ignore this method and choose to do something else.
13. Change your focus and thoughts
Whenever you feel like everything is coming down at you, choose to change your focus and thoughts. There is no point to stay at the same stressed and frustrated state. Choose to do something else that will change your focus instead.
For example, you can play games, go for sports, do something that you like, follow your hobby, jog, swim, read a book in Starbucks, go shopping, watch a movie, and so on and so forth.
Whatever you do, you want to switch your focus and take your thoughts away from the situation so that your mind can have time to relax and think it through with your subconscious mind.
And after you return to solve the problem, you can think clearer and there is a high chance that the solution will come to you in middle of nowhere.
14. Stop and reflect
Getting yourself out of a slump is a conscious effort, and this is why you need to stop and reflect on what has happened to you so far. If you continue to live life as it is, you will continue to stay at the same point without going any further.
It is when you stop, reflect, and make changes, you will be able to make sure you are traveling in the right direction heading to your desired destination.
Most people allow life happens to them as it is. They never question and never reflect. As a result, they feel powerless and have no control over what is happening to them.
If you are serious about getting to a higher ground and improve your life, you must take time to reflect. It is your previous action and decision that get you where you are today. So if you reflect, review and make better choices, you will eventually end up getting to a better place.
When life gets hard, it is a signal telling you that something is not right. And hence, you must reflect on what went wrong and what you can do to course-correct.
15. Get active
Do you know that exercise can relax your muscle and help release your stress? The University of Florida states that exercise can improve your body image. Living an active lifestyle can make you feel more confident because you feel like you have accomplished something. Not only that, exercise stimulates energy production in your body cell, which makes you energetic and allows your brain to function better.
According to Laura Vanderkam, the best-selling author of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, she discovered that most highly successful people spend the time to exercise. Do you think it is a coincidence that successful people make it a habit to exercise? I don’t think so. Make exercise part of your life.
By the way, if you haven’t read the book yet, go do so right now. Whenever life gets hard, go active!
16. Write it down
Another thing you can do is to write it down. Yes, you can write down your frustration, worries, anxiety, and stress.
A psychologist from UCLA has proven that an individual may feel less angry or less sad if he or she put the feelings into words. When you write down your feelings and put them into words, you are activating the prefrontal region of your brain and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala. And the amygdala is the vital part of your brain that processes your emotions.
So the next time when you are feeling stress, life is not proceeding according to your plan or feeling that the world is coming down to you, choose to put your feelings into words. You may feel less emotional.
17. Ask for help
Rather than sharing your story with someone else, seek help from someone else. When life gets hard, go and get help. You’ll be amazed that people are more than willing to help you.
Of course, getting help from someone is one of the most powerful ways to turn your life around, but how can you do it?
The best way is to get the right help from the right people. For instance, you can seek out the experts in your industry and try to ask for their help. You will never know who will come to the rescue. Or else, find someone who can help you from your own opinion.
18. Hustle through it
This is more like an inspiration to you to work through the tough times. When life gets hard, hustle through it. Put in more action, work harder, pour in more effort, and work your way to get out of the seemingly impossible situation.
When you think about it, it is what all the successful people do to achieve extraordinary results in life. No matter what situation or what kind of difficulties they face in their journey, they choose to hustle through it.
19. Accept that the time may not be right
And if you have tried all the above and none seem to work, perhaps, you should accept that it may not be the best time to work out the things.
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, started his internet career in 1995. He built the “China Yellow Pages”, but somehow, the people of China were not ready for the internet and Jack has to delay his dream to a later year. He started once again in 1999 and founded Alibaba, the e-commerce giant that dominates the world today.
As you can see, sometimes, the time may not be right. Yes, life can be hard when you are trying to go against the wave or when things are not ready. No matter how tough you hustle, if the market is not ready, there is no way you can create the breakthrough.
Therefore, sometimes you have to accept that the time is not ripe and you may have to come back at a later time. Remember, delaying your dream does not mean giving up.
When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he started, he was devastated, but he accepted the fate that he was not good enough. He took 3 months off for holidays and discovered that he still loved what he does. And thus, he went on to found NeXT computer and bought Pixar. Jobs then learned and improved his leadership skills during those years. And when he returned to Apple, he became a great visionary leader that brought Apple to stardom.
Perhaps, if Jobs was not fired, he will never learn and becomes a great leader and transform Apple into one of the most successful companies of the decade.
Hence, sometimes, you may need to accept that it may not be the right time to strike.
20. Pray and have faith
One of the easiest things you can do when life gets hard is to pray and have faith that it will turn out alright.
Do not underestimate the power of prayer and faith. When you truly believe in a higher power and pray sincerely, something in you will change. You may feel more relaxed and less stressful because you are letting go and allow the higher power to take care of the situation for you.
You may start to see miracles and opportunities because you believe that God has created a path for you.
So pray and have faith that things will become better no matter how dire the situation.
Life Is Hard Because of Your Perception
Regardless of whatever situation you go through in life, whether it is hard, challenging, tough, or the other way round, you have to understand that you are the one who gives meaning to it.
Meaning to say, if you think that life is hard, it is because you are making it hard.
How do you define life is hard? For some people, life can be hard. On the other hand, someone can go through the exact same situation and feel nothing at all.
It is your perception, my friend. If you think that something is difficult, then yes, it will be difficult for you. But if you think that something is easy and life is joyful, then it will be so to you.
How you look at things matter. While it may be a fact that you may feel financially difficult, having not enough money to put food on the table or late on your bills payment, but you can still choose how you want to respond to the situation.
Just like how Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson puts it, “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me”, just say “Try me!“”
You are the one who is in control of your responses in life. And thus, you are the one who can choose what kind of life you want to go through. When life gets hard, just increase your level and get stronger.