In life, things don’t always turn out the way you want. You set yourself ambitious goals and really do your best to achieve them, but – let’s be honest and put that motivational talk aside – you won’t succeed every single time. You simply won’t. As a matter of fact, only 25% of investment-backed Start-ups succeed (Source: WSJ) while 90%-95% of Start-ups miss their initial projections (Source: HBS Research & Ideas).... and don't get me started on how many marriages end up divorced.
Leaving the corporate world for a moment, you can find tons of personal examples that show that life doesn’t always go according to the plan that you have in your head. You applied to Business school? You might have received a straight rejection. You worked really hard on that promotion? You might have not gotten it. You really wanted to go to that wedding? Something more important messed up your plans.
These sort of things happened to me all the time in my life. For far too long, I allowed these situations to be a downer and to either pause my life or to throw it upside down as I wasn’t able to cope with that situation. Nowadays, I have found a recipe to deal with these situations and to turn them into a power boost for my life as opposed to let them drag me down.
Instead of pondering over why "Y" happened or losing energy over how I could have avoided the occurrence of "Z", I activate my creative juices and try to come up with potential scenarios that would make "Y" or "Z" a much better outcome than I could have possibly asked for. Basically, I try to see the new situation under a different light – a perspective that truly allows me to see the benefits of the situation I am in. In classic "positive psychology”-jargon, you would say that I’m trying to see each challenge as an opportunity. How? I simply ask myself: “Come up with 3-5 situations that would show how this situation could actually be a gift and opportunity". So instead of letting that situation crash into my life, I brace myself for impact and find ways to see that situation as a power boost.
A rejection from Business School could actually inspire you to pursue your entrepreneurial passion outside of school. The failed promotion might turn out to be a blessing since it gives you more time to figure out what you really want to do once you reached the next hierarchical level. And that wedding? The money from not attending it will come in super handy for one of your main projects outside of work.
It sounds slightly silly, but even in the face of the worst situations, there are always ways to look at them positively and to let them boost you instead of pull you down. You just need to be very open minded and to creatively ask yourself how that seemingly negative situation could actually be the beginning of something better.