how to keep your cool when things go wrong

It’s easy to believe that successful people have the Midas touch. That everything they touch turns to gold. Not true. 

What is true is that they have had their fair share of failures, of setbacks, of things going wrong, just as you have. Just as I have.

The only difference between us and them is that they rarely allow the missteps, mishaps and misadventures of life to keep them discouraged and down for long.  They’ve learned how to keep their cool.

As Elvis Presley once said “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” 

Here’s how you can keep your cool when life seems like one long nightmare.

1. Have a melt down

I’m serious. It might not seem as though this will help you keep your cool, but believe me, in the long run it will.

You’re human. And life can be scary and unpredictable and as sure as eggs is eggs there are going to be times when you’ll lose your job, or your money, or get dumped.

Do whatever you need to release the anxiety and panic.   Scream.   Hit pillows.    Talk things over with someone you trust. Whatever it takes to get that initial fearful energy out. 

Just don’t get stuck in it.

Fear might be the first voice you hear, but doesn’t have to be the last and loudest one. Let it out.

[Tweet “You’re meant to grow. Remember, a bad day for ego usually turns out to be a great day for spirit.”]

2. Find your good news

Once the initial shock/horror wears off it’s time to reframe what’s happening. Look for whatever good could come out of it and turn the darkness into light.

Find what you can use for greater personal development. 

Perhaps you lost your job, so now it’s time to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, but you were too afraid to try.

Maybe your partner left, so now you have the time to challenge what you know about yourself, to learn something new.  To understand your needs and your value.

Take the time for a little introspection. There’s always a silver lining and if it isn’t obvious today keep looking. It will show up.

3. Don’t sink your ship

Ships sink because of the water that’s in them, don’t let whats happening on the outside get inside you and stay there until you sink.

when things go wrongBeen knocked off your feet? Get back up. Remember, nothing has the power to shatter your dreams permanently unless you allow it.

Try again. Nothing lasts for ever not even ‘bad luck’.  You know it’s true.

You know your yesterday doesn’t determine your tomorrow. Today does.

So use today as an opportunity to change your tomorrow not to torpedo it by dwelling on everything that’s gone wrong.

4. Get a reality check

Sometimes, to reach your greatest potential, means battling your greatest fears. Whatever they may be. And sometimes things going wrong are simply natures’ way of nudging you back on course.

Don’t get knocked off your path because of fear. 

Search your past for times you’ve got through difficult situations. 

Think of others who’ve dealt with similar experiences.  The more you realize you’re not alone; you’re not the only one who’s been through this…and trust me, you’re not…the more confident you’ll feel that you can manage the situation and come safely through to the other side.

5. Hero to zero

I know it’s usually framed the other way around. But it’s always good to remember that no matter how badly things are going, no matter if you’ve really messed up, no matter what’s been taken away, you can only go back to zero. And you’ve been there before. And you’re still standing.

Review your successes in life and make them a part of your daily consciousness.

Your successes might not be huge, but looking at them and acknowledging them anchors your personal triumphs. A great reminder that even when you think your life is insignificant it’s not.

Everything has meaning on your heroic journey of growth, development and transformation. And when that’s your state of mind you’ll find it easier to keep your cool when things go wrong.

Over to you…what’s your best method for keeping your cool when everything that can go wrong does?

Encourage one another.

Love Elle



Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. I love the way you’ve turned things around in this piece, Elle, like hero to zero. Life is impermanent and that can happen. But we can start again. It’s so true too that what’s bumpy for the ego is fabulous for the spirit. I think you’re right too that the sooner we can acknowledge our feelings and get them out, the better.

    • Hi Sandra…I always enjoy your take on my posts…you often pick up on the most subtle points and I love that. 🙂

  2. Some great strategies here Elle. I try and breathe into these kinds of situations, and have a helpful question I ask myself – how will I feel about this in a week? in a month? in 6 months? in a year? It helps to provide me with some much needed perspective when I think the sky is falling.

    • Hi Ellen – love those helpful questions and yours is especially good because it takes our monkey mind out of the cycle of doom to a place where it can actually be useful to us! 🙂

  3. Hi Elle – when everything that can go wrong has gone wrong I embarrass myself in front of myself by whining and complaining for an unspecified amount of time like a little kid. Then, I have a good laugh at my childishness and move on. Works for me:)

    • Hi Mark…what a great strategy. I call it the ridiculous strategy and I know what you mean that eventually it makes you laugh and voila the energy has been turned into something useful. Love it. 🙂

  4. Elle it is true that things do not always work out as we hope they will. Thank you for reminding us that we are only back to zero. Zero is a opportunity to start fresh and that is always exciting.

    • Hi Sandy, it’s true about being back at zero…even though it can be a bit scary. The perspective we have on it, is what matters most…as you say an opportunity for a fresh start. 🙂

  5. Elle,

    I love this post. I especially like #2 “Find your good.” One of my favorite sayings is “Look for the good and you’ll find it.” Our brains are biologically wired to look for and hang on to bad – for safety reasons. So, we do have to make an intentional effort to find the positive and change our perspective.

    • Hi Debbie…wow that’s the truth isn’t it. I read somewhere that even if 90% of our life is pretty darn great the chances are high that we’ll find ourselves focused on the 10% that is less than great. How weird is that? The brain is definitely a trickster. 🙂

  6. Joseph Appaloosa

    Another great one , Elle !
    I use a similar technique as Ms. Bard, except in reverse order. How will I feel about this in 6 months ? That amount of time is usually long enough to give me some perspective. Then I bring it closer – how will I feel in 3 months . . . then 1 month . . . same “Bard technique” just a bit different.
    And I cannot over emphasize your point of confiding in a trusted friend who is willing to listen to your woes all the way to end !
    Write on, Elle !

    • Hello Joseph…interesting that you and Ellen have the same technique. It makes sense to give things a little perspective…it has the benefit of pulling you out of the weeds long enough to notice that they’re not as deep or as worrisome as you thought. 🙂

  7. Hi Elle,

    I love that you support having a melt down. Sometimes I just think it necessary, you have to just let it out. If I don’t release the energy somehow later on I end up breaking down at the worst possible time.


    • Hello Lea…that’s an interesting point you make. If you don’t let the frustration or fear go it could turn up again later, when you least expect it, and when it’s even more difficult to manage. Bravo. 🙂

  8. Hi Elle, another motivating post again. Totally agree that our past does not determine our future. Thanks for sharing all these great tips with us.

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