Giant Swallowtail, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Adversity | Oct 2021

How to Manage Adversity

Giant Swallowtail, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post on Adversity

Giant Swallowtail

We all encounter adversity.

And I’ll agree that adversity can be painful.

Certainly, we’d prefer to avoid it.

But then we might become bored and cause a little adversity, just to keep life interesting.

So what can we do when confronted by adversity?

Consider this simple example: You’re cold because a window is open.

So you have three options when dealing with the adversity of being cold:

1) Change the situation. (e.g., close the window)

2) Change yourself. (e.g., put on a jacket)

3) Leave. (e.g., go to another room)

Now here are three personal examples:

#1) Solution: Change the Project

This summer I was finding very few birds in local parks. So I started taking photos of butterflies. Thus, I changed the situation from taking photos of birds to taking photos of butterflies.

This led to a new area of photography.

As a result, I have hundreds of photos of butterflies.

#2) Solution: Change the Interpretation

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), which is a slow growth cancer. This could be depressing news, even though the oncologist told me it might be ten or twenty years before I’d need to start treatments.

So I began making books. Thus, I changed my view of this news from terrible to inspirational.

As a result, I’ve made ten books. (See link below)

#3) Solution: Leave and Start a New Project

In 1992 the company that I was working for conducted another layoff. Rather than cope with this uncertainty, I decided to take control of my future.

So I took an “early retirement.” Thus, I left to start a new career as a professional speaker.

As a result, I spent 20 years showing people how to be effective leaders followed by 10 years inspiring respect for nature.

Cabbage White, Butterfly, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post on Adversity

Cabbage White

The Reason I Wrote This Article

Even though adversity can be painful, it can lead to achievements we might never have considered.

So I wrote this to show what’s possible. And to encourage you to convert adversities into victories.

Sometimes You’re Stuck

Sometimes you may be unable to change the situation or to leave.

Then your response will be to cope. In those cases, use these steps:

1) Accept what happened. Recognize that everything changes. And nothing lasts forever.

2) Explore options. Ask yourself questions and then write lists of answers. Then discuss these possibilities with family and friends. These possibilities may open ways to change the situation or to move out of the way.

3) Ask others for help, ideas, and support. Then chose those ideas that best fit your situation. Note that this can include joining a group or an organization that provides a structure for solutions and support.

4) Do what you can with what you have. Begin with one small step, and then continue. Note that taking this first step is the critical action toward making any change.

5) Seek lessons from every response. Then use these lessons to adjust and improve.

6) Be kind to yourself. Thus, avoid doing anything that might increase suffering.

7) Never let adversity stop you. It may cause you to pause, take a detour, or make changes. Just know there is always an answer, always a solution, always a way waiting to be found. And sometimes these changes can lead to gains that are better than your original situation.

8) Use kindness. That is, take the focus off yourself, and put it on others through acts of kindness. This helps you. And it helps others who might be stuck.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

PS – The A2 Alliance helps people manage adversity. See:

Find More at:

Books by Steve Kaye – Ten Books and Counting

The Other Side of the Speaking Business – What the Speaking Business Is Really Like

Gratitude Now – Powerful Way to Cope

Practice – A New Perspective

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Bob Chianese
    Posted at 15:18h, 10 October

    We have plenty of adversity for us to transform. You provide good models of how to do it.

  • Daphne Radenhurst
    Posted at 10:30h, 11 October

    What a very inspirational post. I am reading this just at the time when I could do with such good advice. Thank you so much. Deep bow.

  • Lorian Collins
    Posted at 20:10h, 17 October

    HI Steve,

    I so appreciate your authentic disclosure.

    Sometimes I’m given gifts and for whatever reason do not actually receive them. Such is the case with your beautiful books. I am interested in enjoying them as some of my spiritual practice and upliftment this week.

    Lorian Joye

  • Jennifer Baron
    Posted at 20:15h, 19 October

    Steve, What you wrote is sooo interesting! You have such an exceptionally positive and wise approach on what life has given you.

    Anyway, I think adversity and conflict bridges understanding. It can be a good opportunity for growth, understanding, more acceptance and appreciation for resolving adversity between two individuals.

    I love your butterfly photos btw! I am really into painting, creating and putting butterfly embellishments on key accessories.

    Take care.

  • Kajun Curtis
    Posted at 17:45h, 04 March

    So insightful!! Steve, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you and I’m enjoying reading all your posts now. I was astounded to read your optimistic response to the leukemia; amazing. So glad you are still kickin’! and taking beautiful photos and sharing your wealth of knowledge and encouragement. I am looking forward to reading your books!

    Many blessings!

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