The pulmonologist's words still echo in my mind: "Your son has two problems," he said in a thick Boston accent as Mom and I sat in the exam room; "He was born with smaller-than-average size lungs, and he has asthma." The doctor recommended that I take medicine for life and lead a less active lifestyle. My mind braced for my new reality, but my mom refused to let me surrender. She dug her sharp nails into my arm and told me I controlled what I can or cannot do. "No one decides what you can do BUT YOU—do you hear me?" she exclaimed.

Although I appreciate the doctor's intention to keep me safe, I believe that humans are meant to face struggles and challenges, and safety should not be our ultimate goal. Adversity serves a similar purpose as friction in moving a car forward. It drives personal growth and progress in individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and nations. It's not common to welcome challenges and difficulties, especially when it involves giving up a comfortable lifestyle for the hardships of persistence, setbacks, uncertainty, and criticism. But, the most rewarding achievements come after pushing through adversity.

So, why do some people pursue progress while others make excuses? The answer is mindset. They view obstacles as opportunities, discomfort as growth, and adversity as an advantage. It's like putting on sunglasses that filter out self-doubt and excuses and allow you to see only reasons why YOU CAN. I call it an Unstoppable Mindset. An unstoppable mindset refers to the ability to utilize the power of your mind in any given situation to make decisions and take actions that lead to the achievement of your desired goals.

Strategies for Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming adversity can be likened to the martial art of jiu-jitsu, where the practitioner learns to use their opponent's strength and momentum against them. Similarly, by learning to leverage adversity, one can turn it to their advantage. Like in jiu-jitsu, it takes practice and discipline to master the technique, but with time and dedication, one can become a skilled practitioner at turning adversity into a tool for growth and development. Much like how jiu-jitsu fighters learn to anticipate and adapt to their opponent's moves, those who learn to leverage adversity can anticipate challenges and respond with strength and resilience. By embracing adversity as an opportunity to test and strengthen their skills, individuals can build the mental toughness, resourcefulness, and determination they need to achieve their goals, even when the going gets tough.

Embracing discomfort:

To become more resilient, it's important to embrace discomfort and push yourself out of your comfort zone. This means facing your fears and taking risks that challenge you mentally and physically. It could be something as small as starting a conversation with a stranger or as big as taking on a new job or hobby. By stepping out of your comfort zone and confronting discomfort, you'll develop a stronger sense of resilience and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Over time, you'll gain a new level of confidence and self-assurance that can help you to navigate life's challenges with greater ease and grace. So embrace discomfort, face your fears, and trust in your ability to navigate whatever comes your way.

Cultivating an unstoppable mindset:

Cultivating an unstoppable mindset is essential to overcoming adversity and achieving success. One way to do this is by adopting a growth mindset, which entails believing that your abilities can improve with effort and dedication. It's also helpful to focus on the positive and find opportunities in every challenge. Another important aspect is to cultivate mental toughness and resilience by setting challenging goals and developing coping mechanisms for when things get tough. Finally, embracing a can-do attitude and refusing to give up when faced with setbacks helps to cultivate a mindset of determination and perseverance. With practice and an unwavering commitment to growth, anyone can develop an unstoppable mindset and conquer even the toughest of challenges.

Practicing gratitude:

When dealing with adversity, practicing gratitude can be a powerful tool to shift your perspective and find positivity in difficult situations. One way to do this is to start a practice of daily gratitude journaling, where you write down three things you are grateful for each day. Another way is to focus on the present moment and find something positive to appreciate. This can be as simple as taking a deep breath and enjoying the fresh air on a walk outside, or finding joy in spending time with loved ones. It's also helpful to remember that even amid adversity, there are always things to be grateful for, such as the opportunity to grow and learn from challenges. By practicing gratitude, you can find greater resilience and inner strength even in the toughest of times.

Using adversity to develop new skills:

Adversity can be a powerful catalyst for personal growth and the development of new skills. One way to use adversity to your advantage is to approach it with a learning mindset, viewing setbacks and challenges as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks. By doing so, you can identify areas where you may need to improve and develop new skills to overcome obstacles. Additionally, seeking out mentors or turning to a strong support network can help you to gain insights and learn new strategies for overcoming adversity. Finally, staying open to new experiences and embracing new challenges can help you to build resilience and develop the skills you need to thrive, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Whether it's through taking classes, seeking out new challenges in your work, or stepping outside of your comfort zone in new ways, adversity can be a powerful force for positive change and personal growth.

GoalBud is Your Secret Weapon Against Adversity

The GoalBud app is a free tool that I developed with John Keagy as part of my mission to help 100 million people accomplish more than they originally thought possible and Be Unstoppable. With GoalBud, you can make goals, build a goal team, create goal commitments, and check in daily to stay on track. Download GoalBud and start reaching your goals today!