When Adversity Knocks

When COVID-19 spread across the globe and became a pandemic, all our lives turned upside down. In one fell swoop, the things we used to take for granted were taken away from us, and we had to adapt to a new normal. We all knew that change is constant, but none of us anticipated that the world could change so drastically over a short period of time. The lockdown measures implemented to slow down the spread of COVID-19 altered the landscape of business. The government dictated which companies could re-open first based on necessity and the ability to implement health and safety measures.

What is true on a large, global scale holds true in our personal lives. Change can happen in an instant. A marriage can end with one infidelity. One can lose mobility from a split-second car crash. Losing a job can spiral into also losing your car or your home. In a continually changing world, what determines whether or not you survive but also thrive? The secret is adaptability. We must learn how to not only weather adversity but to take advantage of it. 

I learned to use my feet as a child as an instinct to adapt. I had no arms, so my mother would hand things to my feet. Using my feet and legs all the time developed my flexibility and core stability. These two things, later on, proved advantageous to me in activities such as surfing, slack-lining, and taekwondo. 

I am a 4th-degree black belt in taekwondo, a martial art whose Korean name translates to “hand and foot art.” As its name implies, it includes movements of both hands and feet. I had to learn to modify the moves to suit my unique situation. When the instructor asks the class to do push-ups, I do sit-ups. Since I was ten years old, I made it a point never to have an occasion when I would just be standing and doing nothing while everyone else does exercises. The modifications did not always come easily. I struggled to figure out what replacement move would be most functional. Learning to modify situations to make them work for me has become an invaluable life skill. 

So how can you make adapting second nature? 

Look at challenges in a positive light! 

The way you look at challenges when you first encounter them determines your attitude towards them. When you come across a problem, do you see a stop sign or an invitation to pause? Sometimes, the things that slow us down give us time to reboot and improve on our plans. 

Embrace adversity! 

Growth comes most profoundly from adversity. Struggle forces you to summon your best qualities of courage and resilience and provides a venue for you to practice them. 

Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. Failures should strengthen your resolve to begin anew. 

Flex your flexibility muscle! 

There are many ways to approach a situation. When you get hung up on a specific way of doing something, you rule out the many other methods that could turn out better. Flexibility gives way to creativity, and creativity expands your horizons. 

Never say, “I can’t!” 

The surest way to kill your dream is to proclaim, “I can’t!” Sometimes you may have to say, “I can’t…yet” And that’s okay. What you shouldn’t do is give up on your dream. 

Maybe you need to work harder or smarter. Perhaps you need to ask for help first. Figure out what is stopping you from saying, “I can” and turn that into an opportunity to create a better, stronger you. 

I am Jessica Cox, and I achieved the impossible by becoming the first licensed pilot in history with no arms. I have shared my story around the world as a motivational speaker. Now I share the skills I learned achieving my impossible as a one-on-one personal coach. Take control of your life and your dreams at www.possiblethinking.com/mn