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How can we show tenacity in the face of adversity?

Updated on July 21, 2012

How do we react when faced with undesirable situations? Do we look back in anger? Do we run away? Or do we take the bull by the horns and face things squarely? Tenacity is a trait that is respected but often overlooked; yet it is vital because of the constant curve balls that life throws at us. So how can we embrace tenacity in adversity?

All of us have had our share of overwhelming circumstances and difficult moments. We know that we have to overcome these with mettle and resilience; but do we know what resilience is? How do we cultivate it?

Resilience is all about mental strength; one arm of mental strength is the ability to accept challenges. There are times when life dumps in you in the deep end of the pool and makes you swim; you just have to swim, like it or not. For myself, the analogy became literal. I was deathly afraid of water as a child; my father literally carried me to the deep end of a swimming pool and dumped me over the edge. Miraculously, I began treading water instead of screaming; I just swam and have loved the water ever since.

Tenacity is all about embracing failure be it in careers or relationships; it is the ability to tell yourself to stop being a constant worry wart. I have met with constant challenges in the classroom as a teacher and blasted myself for not being able to get a certain lesson through to students; yet, I still refuse to tell myself that it defines me and makes me who I am. A failure does not make you; it is just meant to point you in the right direction.

Being resilient means having a never-say-die-mindset. That does not mean that we continue doing things that set ourselves up for disaster; rather, it means having the strength to get up where we fall and change our direction, if need be, that we are taking in life. I have had to do this many times and am doing so even now; though rising again and doing an about turn requires a lot of strength, life puts you in a place where you will have to do it, and do it well, anyway.

So how can we be tenacious? I always try to avoid visualizing the negative out of fear. We attract the negatives or positives to ourselves; when we fear that something bad will happen - guess what - it usually does! Instead, we must attract the positives by wanting the good that we desire to happen to us. Easier said than done? I would have to agree wholeheartedly because it takes discipline!

Gratitude is another important aspect of being tenacious; be grateful for what we already do have. That thanks helps one to see that in spite of unfavorable events or circumstances, we still have tools that can spur us on. I have a supportive family who surrounds me in spite of me having suffered from multiple brain tumors; I have hated the suffering that the tumors have brought, but am so thankful that a loving husband and family has been with me through it all. I know that not all of us will be able to say that.

Obstacles can be seen as opportune moments. Take writing for example; writers often face the networking and idea blocks that so often come with the profession. Why not turn the block into an opportune moment? (So my next piece will be on opportune moments, I am sure.)

Try focusing on activities that spur you on rather than drag you down. If you like writing, just do it anyway; the passion that you have for it will turn into a strength with time and patience. This is far better than going about life doing things that make you feel as though you are stuck in a never ending whirlpool.

Tenacity is an underrated skill; still, it is a necessary one that takes us along the path of survival and ultimately, success.


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    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      We should never allow adversity to cripple us....well said, Kasman!! Pity that people just do not want to face their fears or talk about such a topic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kasman profile image


      7 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I love this article because I've actually had to teach people a few of the things you mentioned. To never give up, never surrender to fear. One of my favorite bible verses is 1 Timothy 1:7, paraphrased: For The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear to overcome us, but a spirit of power, love, and discipline! Another one is Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you says The Lord."

      I can totally relate on the dad dropping into the pool to help me learn how to swim. I was mad for the moment, but I swim fine now! Voting this up and sharing. This a topic everyone must know how to deal with.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      8 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks so much for the reading and affirmation, Dbro. Will join you on your hubs!

    • Dbro profile image


      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Great hub and great advice. A person's message always carries so much more weight when it can be backed by experience. It is obvious that you know what you're talking about when you talk about tenacity. God bless you, and best wishes to you and your family!


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