Although the difficulties we’ll face in life are inevitable, there are habits you can develop that will allow you to better overcome adversity when it strikes.
Italian psychotherapist and philosopher Piero Ferrucci explains some of these strategies in his forthcoming book, “Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times.”
We’ve summarized the book’s key points below:
1. Do not turn your current beliefs and habits into dogma.
“We may feel captive to our own [automatic behaviours], obligations, and fears. Pressure from others may also oppress us,” Ferrucci writes.
He says that keeping yourself free to embrace new ideas is essential to remaining happy and able to adapt to change.
2. Learn to find peace within yourself.
“When our emotions threaten to overwhelm and devastate us, we can find the center of our being,” Ferrucci says.
The practice of quieting the chaos of one’s mind through meditation has been practiced from Wall Street executives to the ancient Roman “philosopher king” Marcus Aurelius, who wrote that he would occasionally retreat into himself the same way people took breaks in the mountains or the beach.
3. Be deliberate in your actions.
When we put forth just enough effort to make it to the end of each day, life becomes tiring, and it makes us bitter and vulnerable.
Instead of wasting away your career acting like a robot, accomplish things with energy and focus. This way of approaching your work will keep you sharp and confident.
4. Starve your anxieties.
Ferrucci says that it is easy to underestimate the power of directing our attention toward something. Often, we gradually shift focus to a worry lingering in the background of our mind until it overwhelms us.
Bring these worries to the forefront of your mind, settle on a way to address the root of each, and then determine that you will ignore these same negative thoughts the next time they pop into your consciousness.
5. Be autonomous.
A strong support network of people who care for us is essential for dealing with life’s challenges, but that does not mean that we should be dependent on others.
“Finding autonomy means fending for ourselves. It is to discover in ourselves the source of our interests, tastes, and motivations,” Ferrucci writes.
6. Practice self-control.
The first step to gaining mastery over yourself is to refrain from making decisions when you become overtaken with a particular emotion, whether it’s good or bad.
The goal is to learn to separate your emotion from a situation and see it objectively. If you lose your job, for example, your emotional impulses could tell you that you’re worthless; if you were to look at the reality of the situation, you could proceed with a steady mind and do whatever necessary to secure a new job.
7. Practice integrity.
Setting aside our values to take the easy way out can have long-term effects.
“Coherence within ourselves allows us to feel more solid,” Ferrucci says, and if we start redefining ourselves in a negative way, we will not have a foundation of values to help us get through setbacks and challenges.
8. Develop in-depth relationships and interests.
Today more than ever before, we jump from distraction to distraction without investing ourselves in much at all, Ferrucci says.
He thinks that giving depth to our most important relationships and passions can allow us to become more able to bounce back from life’s difficulties.
9. Venture outside your comfort zone.
Fear is what keeps us from doing what is necessary to progress in every aspect of our lives.
“Risk, on the other hand, helps us grow and renew ourselves,” Ferrucci writes.
10. Take lessons from every failure and setback.
The most resilient people understand that every one of their defeats offers the chance to become wiser and better suited for meeting similar challenges in the future.