Jul 302011
A New Dawn by Jiri

Hexagram 47 Oppression

Hexagram 47 by Ben Finney

Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself.

No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and sparing of words.

-Hexagram 47 from The I-Ching or Book of Changes Translated by Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Living Bravely in Adversity

We are the captains of our fate and the masters of our destiny. If our will to persevere crumbles in the face of adversity, all is lost. In times of adversity, we must always be aware of the reasons we must prevail. Who or what are we fighting for? What are the reasons we must never give up? As long as we bide our time and refuse to surrender, we will find a way to prevail. What we need here is calm detachment and the belief that we will find a creative solution. Then, we must act to create or find that solution. And if our strength is not sufficient to resolve the problem, it is always a good idea to find help and support. This increases our chances of prevailing.

But what do we do when matters are out of our hands? There are no easy answers to this predicament. All we can do is to accept that adversity is happening and adapt as best as we can. Here, the serenity prayer comes to mind. But acceptance does not mean rolling over and playing dead. If we find one door closed to us, we just have to look for another alternative.

And what do we do about losing the people we love? While it is tempting to develop tunnel vision and to allow negativity to overwhelm us, it is here that we must remember the big picture. Nothing lasts forever, but life goes on. Time will heal our wounds, but the scars will remain. Yet these scars serve a special purpose. They are there to remind us of the times we shared with the people we loved. Now it is up to us to carry on their legacy bravely in our lives. Their influence in this world will live on through us. This is how we fulfil our responsibility to them and honour their memory. So let us live bravely and press forward. Only by doing so can we bring about good fortune in times of adversity and remain blameless.

Taking Action

How do you manage adversity? Are there any other instances of adversity that I might have missed out? What other ways can you think of to manage adversity? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  34 Responses to “Living Bravely in Times of Adversity”

  1. In reading your post, I can’t help but think that perhaps you have lost someone you love, perhaps recently. If so, then I’m sorry.

    As for adversity, I had to learn to take a deep breath and pause before acting. My instinct is always to push back, quickly and forcefully. Many times, however, I have only made the situation worse by acting too quickly and without properly assessing the situation. Sitting with the pain, accepting what we cannot change (in the words of the Serenity Prayer), sometimes feels too scary, so we react with anger or futile efforts to control so that we can try to avoid the inevitable pain. Staying alert and unafraid will lead us in the right direction.

    Thank you for another wonderfully wise post.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..It Is Not SoMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      That’s very perceptive of you, as is befitting a fellow INFJ. I guess I wasn’t trying too hard to hide it since I needed to feel the loss to write well. Don’t worry, I haven’t really lost anyone dear for good, it is just a little separation that is a hard to bear that is all. :)

      Taking a deep breath to pause before we face adversity is a good idea.

      Yeah, it is hard to accept what we cannot change especially when there is so much at stake. But making things worse is not prudent either. It’s a fine line we have to try to walk during a time when we might not be in the best frame of mind.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  2. I am learning… I understand the exhaustion and how it undermines success, so I am working on the reversing that sense of exhaustion. It is sometimes the way we look at things, our attitude that drains us. I look at Galen’s comment on the Serenity Prayer about it feeling scary at times. Yes, but if we look deep inside and gather our strength, we can move forward, one step at a time….

    Take care, stay well, keep on writing with your special wisdom and insight.
    Barbara recently posted..Wisdom from “Buddha’s Little Instruction BookMy Profile

    • Hi Barbara,

      That is a good move to make, learning how to manage and reverse exhaustion. Indeed, the way we perceive things does affect our ability to manage well.

      While it might be scary to accept the things we cannot change, we can indeed gather strength from deep inside to move forward if we know why and what we are fighting for. This is vital to overcoming adversity.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  3. A lovely post that will bring comfort to many. I always kiss my wife goodbye when leaving the house. Loss is painful enough (even if handled bravely) and doesn’t need to be compounded with guilt and regret for not appreciating what you had when you had it.
    Riley Harrison recently posted..IF YOU DON’T VALUE YOUR TIME YOU DON’T VALUE YOUR LIFEMy Profile

    • Hi Riley,

      That is very sweet of you to kiss your wife goodbye as you leave the house.

      Loss is indeed painful. I often think I can bear anything except losing someone I love forever. Yet, we still have to soldier on during this most difficult of times. All we can do is to treasure each moment we had.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  4. Vizier – all good points – I think I’m learning that adversity makes us all stronger in the long run. Yes, if one door is closed, we have to find another. If that’s closed to, there’s always a window. lol. And always, I’ve found – adversity comes before we can personally grow! Thanks Vizier.

    • Hi Vishnu,

      I agree with you. Adversity, as difficult and painful as it is, does indeed help us to grow in character. It is there to help us to prepare for greater success one day. After all, the capacity to manage success does not appear magically out of thin air. We have to work for it.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  5. Oh, this was a good one! I am very sorry for what you are going through. I am going through a different kind of adversity. The bothersome part for me is just how looooonnng it can last. We can get tired, but must never give up, it seems. I suppose it’s true that eventually we find a way out or through, and sometimes we even realize the reason behind the circumstances (always something that helps me get through). Still, does it always have to be so ugly?! I have felt recently that I am being forced into a long, dragged out circumstance with no resolution specifically to experience things being out of my hands…as if to force me not just to accept, not just to see that I cannot always be the catalyst to “fix it”, but to prove to myself that the universe knows what it is doing.
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..Offer Ends July 31st – One Quick Intuitive Question and Answer For A Donation Of Your ChoiceMy Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      I’m glad you liked this article. :)

      I hope that you have managed to resolve your adversity somehow.

      You’re right when we are in the midst of adversity it can seem to go on and on forever. But if we trust the universe to know what it is doing, then some where along the way we will understand what is happening and learn to accept it. It’s times like these that I am reminded of Galen and her popularization of the Serenity Prayer haha!

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. The I-Ching or Book of Changes, Your a man after my own heart, Opening this post with the timeless wisdom of the I Ching is genius – I’m studying it myself. Living Bravely in Adversity you made some powerful points, Wisdom is also at hand – Thank’s for the Light
    Lloyd Christie recently posted..How to upgrade your fitnessMy Profile

    • Hi Lloyd,

      I hope your study of the I Ching is going well. :)

      It is definitely a book that I will spend the rest of my life learning from and even then, there will still be a lot I do not fully grasp or understand. It is a companion for life.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  7. Irving,
    When I face tough times I like to look at it as a test. How creative can I be about dealing with this problem? Where can I do something different I’ve never done before to find away out of it? We may not be able to change it but it can be a great opportunity to change ourselves and how we think. I don’t go looking for challenges mind you, and I enjoy the good life as much as anyone else but when times are tough I decide I have to be tougher to get through.
    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition recently posted..Psychic Sight: How Does a Clairvoyant See?My Profile

    • Hi Angela,

      You’re right. As I went through this difficult period during the past months I meditated on how it might be a test for me. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that life gives us tests to stretch us and to give us greater capacity to cope with greater responsibilities and challenges ahead.

      I have always firmly believed that the more creative we are in managing a problem, the likelier we are to find a solution. There is really no fate but what we make. The key is to act early when we still have the power to influence and change things.

      Indeed when times are tough, we have to get tougher. That is the only way to survive and thrive.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! I am glad we see things the same way! :)

  8. Your post reminds me of a saying from the Matrix movie, “Do not try to bend the spoon – that?s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth. Then you?ll see it is not the spoon that bends; it is only yourself.” In responding to adversity, adopting the right mindset is very important. Learning to perceive things more positively helps. I’m sorry to learn that you’ve encountered a recent loss. Please take care!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..5 Life Areas of Self-SabotageMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Thank you for your concern. :)

      I agree with you. We have to perceive the truth of the situation and act accordingly. That is the only way to cope with change and to manage life. To cling to the status quo when change has already happened is not prudent. Only when we accept change and see the reality of things can we move forward and act accordingly.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. Irving,

    It has been while. I know from my own personal life that adversity comes when you are least expecting it, and there are no right answers. We must take time off to take a break, regroup, and heal and hope for the best. Our experiences (both good and bad) makes us who we are. What made you write about this subject?

    Zengirl @ Heart And Mind recently posted..How To Preserve FoodMy Profile

    • Hi Preeti,

      Yes it has been awhile.

      It is true that adversity can come when we least expect it even if we are vigilant. And indeed when it is too much to bear one has to time some time off to manage it as best as he or she can.

      Well I experienced some adversity these past weeks and months which made me think of what was the best way to manage. And in many ways I am thankful for my past experiences for without them, I would never have been able to make it through this time. At least it shows that I have been learning from my experiences. :D

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  10. Irving: Really good post. I thought this post was filled with so much wisdom. I loved what you said about realizing there will always be a creative solution. I think if we can just jeep that truth top of mind, we really can push through just about anything.
    Sibyl recently posted..10 Things You Definitely Should Learn From “Failure”My Profile

    • Hi Sibyl,

      Thank you for your compliments. I wrote this post from my pain and heart.

      In many ways, life is about the choices we make. The more creative we are, the more choices we have and the more likely we are to find a solution to our challenges. We can only do the things we can imagine.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  11. Irving,

    This is a very insightful post. It does take a strong person to cheer adversity. I think I spent the majority of my life trying to avoid it and I am dealing with the challenges of life I could have already passed because of it. You have given me a great amount to think about and also inspired me to make some changes in my own life.
    Frank recently posted..Improving Productivity with Purpose?My Profile

    • Hi Frank,

      I am glad you found this post useful.

      We all have our own unique challenges to deal with. What truly matters is how we choose to manage it. I am sure you will do fine since you are willing to change and adapt as necessary. :)

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  12. Thanks for sharing Irving. I miss you. How are you doing? I feel a connection with you in my heart. Something I have learned in life is that anything that is true is never lost. The form of it may be lost but what is true is never lost. Blessings.
    Christopher Foster recently posted..How can you be more innovative?My Profile

    • Hi Christopher,

      I miss you too. It’s been so long since I have been away. It is good to be back. :)

      I have seen better days, but I am fine now. :)

      I can see the wisdom of what you say. The form of what is true may change, but what is true is never truly lost. Indeed this has been my experience.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  13. You have a very inspirational blog.. It is not easy to face adversity but in time we will.. I am facing this issue now and I know I am not the only one.. Thanks for sharing your insight..
    Sally Thompson recently posted..walmart oil changeMy Profile

    • Hi Sally,

      Facing adversity is never easy even for those who are seasoned. Our capacity to cope with adversity increases with each experience so the next one is probably more difficult to handle or else it won’t be called adversity. :)

      I hope you have somehow managed to cope with the issue you were facing. If not, drop me an email and I will be more than happy to help. After all, I have spent my life studying change and it always helps to know what will happen before it happens so we can make the best choices.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  14. I personally believe adversity, help us develop our strong traits. And facing them bravely is all that we need to be a better person.
    maxhine25 recently posted..Lottery SystemMy Profile

    • Hi,

      I fully agree with you. Adversity happens to us to help us grow and develop our character. Since we cannot run from adversity, we have to face it bravely and creatively.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  15. This is a very insightful post.I loved what you said about realizing there will always be a creative solution. I decide I have to be tougher to get through.
    Celestine recently posted..italian chandeliers antiqueMy Profile

    • Hi Celestine,

      A friend of mine once said that I write best from great sorrow and pain. I am glad you found my post insightful. :)

      If you observe life in general, you will see that the most successful people saw things and did things differently to succeed. Creative solutions do not belong to “creative” people. Anyone can be creative. It is just a matter of practice and learning to see the same thing in different ways.

      But the key factor in overcoming adversity is to never give up no matter how hard it is. The longer you hold on, the likelier you are to find a solution.

      Do drop me an email if you need help. :)

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  16. I really enjoyed this post, I used to study Chinese philosophy in college. I think challenging times provide an opportunity to reflect and distinguish the real from the false. I like to think it’s important to always develop our character like Confucius said because you can’t even take away a person’s character.
    John recently posted..Utopia Systems Hosted CRMMy Profile

    • Hi John,

      I am glad you enjoyed this post. :)

      Indeed we should always reflect on adversity and challenging times. It is the only way to gain deeper insight into what life has in store for us. That way we will know whether we are going with the flow or resisting it.

      If we learn the lessons from adversity well, our character will develop naturally and at the end of the day, our character is all we truly have.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  17. It’s really amazing to read a post like this. It makes us realize that theirs always a better solution, how to solve the adversity that comes in our life. I believe that facing it is hard to do, but it makes us a stronger and better person.
    gold recently posted..Aquarama 2011 Exhibition Photos For Your Viewing Pleasure …My Profile

    • Hi,

      Indeed there is always a better solution in managing adversity. This is why creativity is so important. The more creative we are the more possibilities open up before us. If we are having trouble with creativity, it is good to find help.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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