too much to do photoWant to handle stress better? Want to learn to be less bothered by the ups and downs of life? If you answered yes, chances are you’ve also researched terms like resilience, mental toughness, and grit.

And along the way, you have probably found a myriad of information about the thoughts, attitudes, and feelings to adopt – all with the promise of helping you deal more effectively with life’s unpredictability.

For the most part, resilience, mental toughness, and grit will help us deal better with the adversity that comes our way. The problem is that adversity – and the unpredictability that defines it – never stops.

The fact that we want it to stop, however, might just be the root of the problem. Instead, the one question we should ask ourselves is: What is adversity for?

Just how you answer that question will determine how you cope with stress. If you think adversity shouldn’t exist, you will make every attempt to avoid it and learn only to resent it.

On the other hand, if you believe that adversity exists to draw out our strengths, test us, and ultimately expose the best we can possibly be, you will find ways to use adversity to build your strengths. You won’t mind that adversity is hard, because you understand that it is supposed to be that way – resistance is needed to build strength. You will also know that through facing our biggest challenges, we develop a more enhanced sense of ourselves; one that recognizes that our full potential remains untapped. And you will also understand that when you look back upon these tough moments, it will be with a qualitative fondness – it was then that you realized your greatest strengths.

It all begins with how you answer the question: What is adversity for?

Claire Dorotik-Nana is the author of Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards. For more information on Claire or her work, visit

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