How to Make the Best Out of the Worst Situation

Photo by Alloyous'

There’s going to be times when things look bleak. Maybe you lose your job, you get in a car accident, or your partner files for divorce. No matter what happens in your life, there are ways to make the best out of any bad situation.

Time and time again people make it through life’s disasters with a renewed and refreshed spirit to grow and flourish. Just like a brush fires, problems combust in our lives causing extensive damage, but these fires also have beneficial effects. Just as many plant species rely on the effects of the fire for growth and reproduction, we too can adapt to life’s circumstances and become more resilient and proactive.

Every situation offers a learning opportunity and an outlet to become better in the long-run. There are many examples of people making it through dark times and coming out lighter and more complete than they ever were before.

The difference between those who crumble under the weight of the world and those who persevere, is an enduring hope, faith, and resilience to make the most out of the worst of situations.

Sometimes we must pay a price to reach a greater point, so make the most out of the tuition you pay to life.

Face the brutal truth and then get creative

When things aren’t going well you may have to face the brutal truth. Don’t ignore the facts just because something doesn’t fit your vision. One of the most counterproductive things to do is pretend nothing is wrong. This is called denial!

If things aren’t going well don’t neglect and avoid the problem, decide how to deal with it most effectively and take action. Denying that something is wrong may be a defense mechanism to feel better emotionally, but there will be no resolution from this approach.

Instead, recognize the problem and begin to uncover how best to deal with it. This may take some critical thinking and creative problem solving, but there is always a solution amidst the confusion.

Creative problem solving involves thinking outside the box and breaking away from fixed mental sets. For instance, how many ways can a concrete brick be used? What comes to mind? Maybe using it to build something, break a window, or line your garden are a few options. But there are actually unlimited uses if we think creatively. What about using it to work out, as a paper weight, or painting it for home decor?

If there is a problem, accept it, get creative, and work to find a solution.

The power of pain

When we’ve hit rock bottom, it can seem that all is lost, but there is nothing more motivating than relieving emotional pain. People will do whatever it takes to change their situation and avoid pain. Think about it, this is why so many people are addicts. It much easier to use drugs as a coping method, instead of actually dealing with the problem.

Though, instead of masking the pain, why not be proactive and do something about it?

Learn to recognize pain as a signal that can trigger needed change in your life. If I’m emotionally distraught at my job, this can be an important signal to start problem solving and uncovering what can be done to change my situation.

What can you learn from your pain?

When has your pain shown up at the perfect time, providing the exact catalyst you needed to move toward better things?

Remember that pain has something to offer. Don’t spend your life afraid of pain, but instead use it as motivation to make a change and alter the course of your life.

Avoid toxic guilt and shame

I’ve had my moments when I was disappointed with myself and didn’t feel proud of something I did. If you’re like most people, these memories probably stick out quite vividly. Though, we can’t let these moments define who we are as people.

There is going to be times when we feel bad about something we’ve done. We may have caused others pain, lost a valuable opportunity, or are being dishonest and living an unauthentic life. Regardless of what may be causing us to feel guilty we have to learn to channel this emotion in a productive and empowering way.

Guilt and shame can be healthy emotions if they teach us about our limitations and lead us to accept that there is a better way to live.

Unhealthy guilt and shame says, “I am a mistake.”

Healthy guilt and shame says, “I made a mistake.”

We all make mistakes, so work toward a perspective where you can:

  1. Understand that mistakes are okay
  2. Laugh, be spontaneous, and have fun
  3. Be authentic and accept yourself
  4. Be vulnerable and communicate with other
Find the value hidden beneath the suffering

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

“Find the silver lining.”

“Look at the glass as half full.”

No matter what cliché axiom is used to describe the importance of a positive and optimistic outlook, the message is clear. You can find value in any situation. There is something to be gained and learned from every encounter, interaction, and circumstance we are a part of. It takes a serious shift in focus to begin looking for opportunity within tragedy, though this is exactly what can save someone’s livelihood and hope for the future.

All in all, resilience is something that can be learned and developed as we learn more about our natural capacity to overcome life’s hurdles. It takes self-confidence to know we can weather the storm, self-discipline to make the needed change, and wisdom to find value and learn from the experience.

Remember, the world will never give up on you, so don’t give up on yourself.

Please leave your thoughts below! How do you make the best out of bad situations? What helps you see opportunities where others see a problem? What blessings in disguise have you experienced?

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  • Dia

    Hi Joe,

    Exactly my friend, we should always focus on the positive side and look for solutions whenever we encounter a problem or a situation. For every situation that happens to us, there is a positive side to it and we should focus on the positive interpretation and learn from it. Thanks for sharing

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Dia,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There is always value to be found in any situation. I think that it’s important to be positive, though at the same time we must accept there is a problem, and maintain faith and persevere through the issue. Accepting the the problem and maintain faith we will find a solution is a powerful combo.

  • Ande Waggener

    A lot of great stuff here, Joe! You’re speaking my language–up from splat. :) You mention making lemonade … which is funny because today I thought about that cliche and wondered why we’re always trying to make lemonade out of lemons instead of just finding the value in the lemons themselves. ;) Years ago, my first marriage fell apart, and I thought my world had come to an end. Instead, my world was just opening up. That was the catalyst that helped me find myself and ultimately opened the door to the wonderful husband I have now. What helps me get up after big setbacks now is the awareness that every big splat is contrast that helps me better clarify what I DO want and puts more energy behind my focus on that.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Hi, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Looking at setbacks as opportunities to learn more about what we DO want is great insight. There really is countless opportunities out there, and when one door closes it just means there is another door yet to be open. I’m glad you have been able to use difficult times in your life as catalyst to greater self-awareness and self-knowledge. As well as the opportunity to share your wisdom with others! :)

  • Rob

    Well said, Joe. Pain is evolution’s way of motivating us to reach deeper and access more of our unrealized potential. We can use pain to reach beyond our usual responses and discover there is much more to explore!

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for your comment! I love this view that pain has a purpose. It’s not just a curse, bad luck, or karma giving us our just cause. It can really be a signal if we’re able to stay calm and really consider what we can do, and how we can better the situation. This is opposed to asking “Why me?” If not totally devasting and overwhelming, pain can be empowering.

  • Momina

    A very nice post indeed
    You wrote great
    I have joined your blog a week ago and I like to read your posts whenever I am online.One of the several things I like about you is that you promote the message of being creative and calm instead of lashing out in a moments anger or else being depressed and gloomy

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Momina,

    Thanks for reaching our and sharing your comment. It’s a pleasure to meet you and I’m glad you joined the site. Let me know if there are ever any topics you’re interested in reading about! I look forward to hearing from you further. Have a great day!

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Momina,

    Thanks for reaching our and sharing your comment. It’s a pleasure to meet you and I’m glad you joined the site. Let me know if there are ever any topics you’re interested in reading about! I look forward to hearing from you further. Have a great day!

  • Jennlari1

    Great Post! Just recently a young high school boy was killed in a football game and his parents were quoted saying they just want to make his life count. Loosing your child, has to be one of the most horrific things to happen to a parent and i find there response inspiring. Life is going to throw you curves, and it’s okay to hurt from the hit but figuring out how to make sense out of something bad can help in the healing.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for the amazing comment! This is a very, very powerful example of how we can make something meaningful out of one of the worst possible situations. This really provides some clarity on the importance of not letting life take away a chance to do something valuable and how to see opportunity amidst gloom.

  • Bec

    Wow just what I needed to read!