How to Get the Best From the Worst

Surprise at life’s unfairness defeats us.

You are who you are today, in large part, due to your responses to uncertainty, difficulty, and adversity.

spend your energy growing through adversity not trying to escape it

You spend too much time resisting and too little time listening to adversity.

You can’t grow through what you resist.


You play a role in the resistance you encounter from people.

  1. Expecting others to be open to your way, while you’re closed to theirs.
  2. Focusing on what’s wrong with others and what’s “right” with you.
  3. Expecting others to like things you don’t. Being told what to do without being part of the conversation, for example.


Adversity continues when you become:

  1. Hard and harsh.
  2. Isolated and closed.
  3. Blaming.
  4. Self-justifying.
  5. Self-protective.

Grow through:

Spend your energy growing through adversity, not prolonging or escaping it.

Resistance prevents you from enjoying adversity’s benefits. 

Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

5 questions for adversity:

  1. What can I learn?
  2. How can I grow?
  3. Who might know?
  4. How might I open up?
  5. What is adversity telling me?

10 positive shifts that follow adversity:

  1. Self-awareness. You see who you are in the fire. It’s likely you’re tougher than you think.
  2. Openness. Uncertainty opens your heart to learning.
  3. Expanded perspective. Life gets larger when you grow through adversity.
  4. Vulnerability. You better connect with others.
  5. Toughness. You learn to press through when quitting would be easy.
  6. Tenderness. You become more compassionate.
  7. Confidence. You don’t need the approval of others quite as much.
  8. Expanded capacity. Lessons learned in the fire become part of who you are.
  9. Value. Adversity makes you more valuable to others.
  10. Deep relationship. Real friends emerge in adversity.

How might leaders grow through adversity?

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