How to stay strong in difficult times?

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

What is resilience? Resilience is more than staying strong though. It's the ability to grow because of a crisis. Interestingly, the mandarin phrase for "crisis" is "wei ji" and those two words translate loosely into:

Danger and Opportunity

How can we seek opportunities while facing danger? How do we stay strong in difficult times? How can we move past our pains and grow to become stronger? It's never too late to have a happy past, or a happy childhood. Though many of us get stuck with questions like:


1) What if?

What if I get infected by the COVID-19 virus? What if I fail? What if the outcome is bad? What if a negative event happens? These questions thrust you into helplessness because you cannot control what is to come. We feel stuck because we feel out of control.

2) Why?

Such a question may be useful in school. Why did I fail this test? Perhaps I didn't study enough. Why did I get punished? Perhaps I did not behave well on a particular day. Nevertheless, when we decide to ask "why" to the great things in life, we often get no answers or we may even get more questions.

3) Maybe?

Perhaps, after a series of setbacks, you find it really hard to affirmatively accept the good in your life. You begin to find out "what's wrong" instead of "what's right" and your answer to "are you ok?" is a non-committal "maybe" because you're looking at the many areas that are yet to be fixed. You feel out of control because the perfect state of "I'm ok" seems unreachable. You're always wondering, "Is the problem still there?"


These questions can sometimes cause a person to do anxiety because the answers are not usually easy to find. Without answers, we face several unknowns at the same time and it is only human to feel overwhelmed.

I have had a client who was so preoccupied with the 'unknowns' in front of him that he could not focus during his day-to-day activities. He sat down in front of me, slumped in his chair, and constantly chattered about his past failures and successes or the worries he had about his future.

I then realised that his "now" was missing. And that led to him feeling overwhelmed.

If your "now" is missing - if you have absolutely no idea what your next step in life should be - it may be quite frightening when adversities hit. It's almost as if you're in a dark cave with no light whatsoever. Just a single torch to light your next step will definitely help you in the long run. You just need to know what to do right now to get to where you might want to be.

2 steps:

  • Figure out what you might want. Be as specific as possible.

  • Figure out your next step.

Be in the "now". And your worries about the past and the future will soon fade into the background as you hustle strongly towards your destination. How far do you want to go?