The Best of Any Situation

I was once told by a friend that I “try to make the best of any situation”. No matter the cards dealt, I’m going to try to pick out the best hand. While I don’t live this mantra every single day, I’ve given it more thought lately as we enter another month of pandemic-style living; you know, where traveling feels taboo and you’re no longer allowed to let someone taste your beer.

Less than a year ago, a friend of mine who works at a Telehealth startup was getting very worried about the situation with her employer. Anyone who works in the Telehealth sector knows that it’s a heavily regulated industry, and you’re not going to walk away with success by simply touting that you have a breakthrough technology. So when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blocked an approval for their flagship product, it was a huge loss in the company’s multi-year efforts to revolutionize the eye-care industry. With little to no revenue to support operations, layoffs would be inevitable.

When the outcome of the FDA decision finally impacted my friend, she was one of the last employees to be let go. It hit her hard. She had been working there since graduating university, and had seen the company go through multiple iterations of growth, downsizing, and rebuilding. After having put so much time and energy into what felt like a sunken ship, it was hard for her to immediately re-enter the job market. A period of self-preservation and reflection took place over the next few months. When the coronavirus hit, that period had to extend longer than expected. Personal issues came up. Finances became a worry. Everything seemed to be going downhill.

How is she today?

  • She’s in a new apartment in the South Loop of Downtown, Chicago
  • She got rehired by the same Telehealth startup in a new role (not surprisingly, Telehealth is getting more attention due to the pandemic)
  • She’s started two new side projects where she can express her creativity and also help a marginalized community

She’s rebounded more impressively than the stock market! While it’s safe to say she made the best of her situation, we all know someone who hasn’t made the best of their situation. Maybe they even made the worst of their situation. Maybe that person was us.

What does it mean to make the best of a situation versus the worst of a situation?

First, let’s define situation. According to the Cambridge dictionary, a situation is the set of things that are happening and the conditions that exist at a particular time and place.

I’m going to add to this definition and say that typically these conditions are restrictive or include drawbacks. Maybe you’re working a job you don’t want to work. Maybe you’re not able to travel because of a global pandemic. Maybe you recently went through a break-up and it’s hitting you hard emotionally. If you want to make the worst of these situations, you should do the following things:

  • Focus on the thought of wasting 40+ hours a week working a job you don’t like
  • Focus on the thought of seeing the same mundane things at home rather than experience new things abroad
  • Focus on the thought of not being good enough for anybody and having zero self-worth
  • Focus on these situations happening to you and nobody else

When you do this, you’re teetering on the edge of what retired Navy Seal and author of “Can’t Hurt Me” David Goggins calls “the victim mentality”. Adopt “the go-getter mentality” instead. The go-getter does the following:

  • Focuses on the skills that can be gained at their current job that will carry over into future, more exciting jobs
  • Focuses on the opportunities at home now that 80% of external distractions are put on pause
  • Focuses on the gifts and blessings they’ve been given and how they have the power to share that with anybody else
  • Focuses on situations happening to everybody and how they can help others get through their situations

I know this isn’t news to anybody. But sometimes we just need a reminder. Life is long, and it moves fast. We’re given situations to deal with all the time. How we choose to respond to those situations is what defines our life. Now go make the best of it!


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