How Do You Handle Disappointment or Adversity?

Life can be a struggle. The encore stage in your life is no exception. Yes, there are many meaningful and happy times during this prime time. However, as in other stages of life, there are challenges. 

One of the challenges during retirement is learning how to accept some of the limitations that happen, such as in your physical health and loss of important relationships.

You might be facing other common disappointments or adversities as well. For those of you who are still choosing to work, your bid for a project might have been rejected, or you did not get the job you had interviewed for, or you aren't able to do something or go somewhere that is important to you.

Whenever you have an expectation or hope that is not realized, you feel some level of disappointment or sadness. How you think about the situation will have a lot to do with the feelings you have and how you respond.

In addition, research indicates that your happiness as an adult depends on how well you learned to:

  1. Deal with disappointment or adversity.
  2. Create and sustain joy.

If you are one of many adults who didn't learn how to do either of these things very well, now is your chance to master these two skills.

With some commitment and effort, there are things you can do to increase your level of happiness even when you are disappointed. In every negative situation, you have a choice of focusing on the:

  1. Terrible things about it, and how it will make your life harder or less satisfying (this includes blaming others for the way you feel) or
  2. Opportunities this situation may offer when you are responsisble for your own feelings and using your strengths to move forward.

The good news is you don't have to stay negative. To help yourself move beyond the negatives, there are 3 key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What opportunities are there for me in this situation?
  2. What resources do I have to help me?
  3. How will I use my resources?

Now ask the first question – What oportunities are there for me in this situation? Be curious about what you are telling yourself without reacting emotionally to it. You might be surprised by the answers you get.

Sometimes the opportunities are not the ones you would have chosen for yourself at that particular time. You may not feel ready to meet the challenge of finding employment or making new friends. Even though this may be difficult, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to stop and discover what opportunities there are for you in the situation.

After you have discovered some opportunities, the next step is to ask the second question – What resources do I have to help me? 

Identify your internal and external resources that will help you embrace the opportunities. Internal resources may be your intelligence, sense of humor, the experience you bring, perseverance, courage, etc. External resources may be your spouse, family, friends, someone you respect, money, time, etc.

The final step is to ask the third question – How will I use my resources? Determine how your resources will help you move forward.

When you get to this last step, you might want to talk with a trusted advisor to help you know what to do if the situation is complex. The important thing is to come up with a plan that is doable and easy to follow through with over time.

These 3 steps will help you successfully handle many major and smaller disappointments or adversities. 

The next time you notice yourself feeling disappointment or facing an adversity, I encourage you to ask the three key questions. List several opportunities you may have and which of your strengths will help you focus on your next step.As you embrace the opportunities ahead, determine the steps you will follow and the time frame you need to be successful

If you get stuck, I can help you discover how to actively implement your plan. Comment below about how you handle disappointments.

Until next time,



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