Overcoming Adversity - How To Handle The Most Horrific Challenges Ever

By Leo Gura - February 17, 2014 | 7 Comments

The key insight and affirmation that you need for coping with life’s worst difficulties.

Big Ideas

The Key Affirmation You Need

  • Affirmation: “I can handle any situation, any challenge life throws at me.”
  • Imagine how you would feel and behave if you really believed that!
  • Say it to yourself for 5 minutes straight, every day, for 60 days and you will start to believe it.
  • Whatever you say to your mind for long enough becomes true. Crazy, but that’s how your mind works.

Understand Why It’s True

  • You want to get a sense for why this is true. And here are the key reasons:
  • #1) In your own life, you’ve survived and handled every challenge you had so far. This is true by definition of you being alive right now. Don’t discount the power of this!
  • #2) No, you aren’t a special snowflake. You are something even better: you ARE a naturally programmed survival-machine.

Survival Is In Your Genes

  • It’s not even that you are so great. It’s in your genes to be a survivor. Think about this.
  • Your body and your psychology is designed to cope with the most horrible situations you can possibly imagine.
  • You will survive no matter what. You don’t even have a choice in the matter.
  • Consider where you evolved from. Consider the challenges your ancestors faced and realize that fact that you are a born, natural survivor.
  • Here is what your ancestors survived: brutal winters, floods, famine, scorching droughts, tribal warfare, rape, pillage, exile, uncurable disease, poverty, brutal ignorance and total lack of knowledge, oppressive government, brutal racial discrimination, torture, slavery, arbitrary imprisonment, etc.
  • Your problems today are pathetic compared to the REAL problems your ancestors faced 100,000 years ago. So stop whining.
  • You are waaaaay more resilient than you give yourself credit for.

Your Challenges Aren’t As Big As You Think

  • Notice that your challenges are not as big as you make them out to be.
  • As a litmus test, how does your current challenge compare to having your family raped and murdered by a neighboring tribe and you becoming a slave? I thought so.
  • What is your biggest screw-up from 10 years ago? Do you even care about it today?
  • What are you most proud of about yourself? Notice how that came out of one of your greatest hardships.

Humans As Domesticated Animals

  • You have lost touch with your own natural resilience because you have been domesticated by society. We are all domesticated by society.
  • Humans have domesticated cats, dogs, and cattle, but the greatest thing we’ve domesticated is ourselves.
  • You are a self-domesticated animal, as Don Miguel Ruiz brilliantly points out in The Four Agreements.

You Are Designed To Survive

  • You are designed to survive ANYTHING!: rape, death in the family, amputation, war, torture, beating, severe humiliation, abandonment, cheating, etc.
  • You have no option but to survive. The only two options are: die or survive.
  • Stop behaving like your life is full of life-or-death challenges! It’s not! You are catastrophizing. Be more aware of this so you’re not as frantic all the time.

The Pit of Despair

  • Don’t get me wrong, the pit of despair FEELS very real. When you’re totally down, the future looks horrible. It really does feel like you will never recover.
  • And that is exactly why I created this affirmation for myself. I never want to feel like there is anything in life I cannot handle, not matter how bad.
  • The fact is that we CAN handle it all, it’s just that we forget and get swept up in the emotions.
  • We also get complacent about how good we really have it compared to 3rd world countries or our ancestors.
  • I am doing 60-days of this affirmation to imprint into my mind, once-and-for-all, that things are never as bad as they seem and that I can handle whatever may come.

Two Key Realizations If You Are Really Suffering

  • If you’re going through a very hard time in your life right now, understand these 2 things:
  • You will grow from this experience and come out much stronger. This is a REAL silver-lining, not New Age bullshit.
  • You are short-selling yourself right now. You are much, much more resilient than you give yourself credit for. You’re disconnected from the truth.

Read Viktor Frankl

  • If you really want to internalize this idea, read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. His description of surviving holocaust concentration camps will show you how resilient human beings are. It will also put your puny problems into perspective.
  • Realize this: it doesn’t take development of a special character to survive. You are a survivor now, naturally!

Bottom Line: Realize that you are a natural-born survivor. Think about how this is true and affirm it to yourself for 60 days straight.

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shawn says:

Great Stuff!
It is great that you give such positive feedback and information yet at the same time you are realistic at how “soft” we have become as a race. (perspective)

All of our great inventions that have been invented to make things easier for us (which is great) has allowed us to forget what real problems are and what true hard work is.

Thanks for you teachings!

Leo Gura says:

You bet Shawn

Anthony Abernathy says:

I would first off like to say is ‘Thank you’ Its so weird today is my first time on the site and I’ve been taught so much in a short time span. The reason I am leaving this comment because I felt it was meant for me to find this site @ 3 0 in the morning. Then to come an find out the book you recommended, was giving to me by my best friend’s dad which my friend past away 2 years ago. I just know now life’s divine. What conformation today!, will always remember this day. Thanks!

Leo Gura says:

Nice, Anthony. Nice!

Amazing how one dynamic insight like this can completely shift my perspective….which will now shift my feelings and behavior, which will now likely shift my outcome. THANK YOU LEO

Leo Gura says:


Maria says:

Hi Leo!
I’m very excited on all the psychology you have been offering! You Have made a world of difference. Thanks!
Being a people pleaser looking for setting healthy boundaries..learning to say no and mean it. Which video R your suggestions…

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