“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”  ~ Viktor Frankl

Sooner or later something happens in life that shakes you up. Overwhelming heartbreak. Unexpected money problems. Serious health scares. All leaving you feeling vulnerable, scared and lost.

Tough times happen to us all. Things go wrong.

I recently had an unexpected business challenge to deal with and I was glad to have a process in place for dealing with things going wrong. Here are six solutions I’ve found to be helpful when something goes wrong. It’s not a cure all, but it’s helped turn some tough situations around in my life.

1. Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies

Ignoring your problems won’t make them go away. Over thinking them won’t make them go away. Taking them to bed with you at night and feeling anxious won’t solve the challenges you face.

The only thing that helps is to face them head on. So at the end of the day, if the problem remains unsolved start a worry chart. One one side, write the problem down, on the other side, write the first step you can take to deal with it. If you can’t come up with a step, write down, “I don’t know what to do right now and worrying won’t help.”

Remember the universe operates in perfect balance and even though you don’t have a solution to your problem yet, there most certainly is one. Falling asleep in this knowledge is a first step in managing the situation.

Most of our great scientists and inventors solved many difficult problems after taking a nap. Today, modern research shows sleep enhances creative problem-solving. Sleeping on it is an oldie but goodie.

2. It might feel like it, but it’s not the end of the world

The Chinese have a saying that if you live with a disaster for three years, chances are high it will turn into a blessing. Right now it might feel as though it’s the end of the world. But in 10 days it won’t feel so important and in 10 months you’ll have a hard time remembering what you were worrying about.

Remind yourself that the awful, seemingly horrible, worrisome things that happened last year are lost in the mists of time.  As you learn to take a longer term view you’re less likely to be defeated by momentary setbacks.

Try taking the attitude of W. Clement Stone who simply said ‘that’s good’ to every experience, even seeming disasters. He then started to find out what was good about them and often found elements to turn to his advantage and he acted on that. You too can begin to look at events from the angle of creative solutions and turn defeats into successes.

3. Being happy and fulfilled means accepting life’s challenges

The people who succeed in life don’t escape problems. They just learn to manage them constructively. If you think about the challenge as a big fat negative you’ll get a big fat negative result, if you think in a positive, constructive way, you’ll get positive results.

Take a deep breath. Panic a little if you must but don’t crumble just because something’s gone bad. Neither the stars nor fate are going to determine your life. You are. When you’re facing miserable conditions you get a choice, you have a decision to make. Give in or stand up for yourself.

4. You’re not alone, we’re all in the same boat

Every one of us is in the same predicament. The high achievers among us don’t let hardships defeat them, they use them to develop character and practice rising to the occasion.

Develop constructive ways of facing up to the pain life deals you. Never let it destroy you. Instead, accept it as a reality of life and choose to grow from it.

Your real success in life is determined by how you deal with pain or disappointment, unfairness or loss. Don’t shrink from it, however fearful you are. Expand yourself, you’re greater than you think. Don’t surrender. Triumph.

Always give it your best shot and with each step you’ll become stronger and bigger than any problem you might have.

5. Don’t think outside the box – throw the box away

Resisting the reality of what is can only create more pain and sorrow. Challenge your old way of doing things your old thinking, conventional thinking. It might be easier to do things in the same old way, but you’ll just get the same old results.

Successful people think about solutions most of the time. The rest are continually talking about their troubles, what caused them and how unfortunate they are. Don’t be one of them.

Question if there’s a better way. Ask how your challenge can be solved and once you make the break from the old way of handling things new thoughts, new ideas, new solutions will flow. Your mind will no longer be stunted by limited thinking.

6. When all else fails

Remember the best part in this game of life is that you’re the player, the referee, the judge and jury.  How can you lose? Every day gives you the opportunity to begin again. It’s your story. You hold all the tools that create your life and how you respond when things go wrong determines your rewards.

Remember that the very time it seems all is lost, you might actually be heading towards incredible success. Sometimes when it seems you’re losing, you’re actually winning. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that by expecting the best you have a shot at a silver lining.

What’s your process for managing life when everything seems to be going wrong. What keeps you motivated and positive? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Thank you for supporting and encouraging others by sharing this post. And for reading and taking the time to leave your comments.  You are amazing.

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. The Chinese saying about disaster turning into a blessing is really powerful. It really opens your mind.

    I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason and though you may not know why at the moment, soon enough it will make perfect sense.

    To stimulate myself to figure out a way to resolve difficult situations, I always tell myself there’s a way around or out of it. Then in due time I figure something out. You just have to be in the right place mentally.


    • Elle

      You rock Lea. The words we speak to ourself are certainly the directions we’re giving to life, so it’s no surprise to hear that in time you figure things out. That’s a wonderful reminder to everyone to only speak and think the things they want to show up. Thanks for stepping up and giving us all another idea.

    • I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours Elle. Love it. I love your suggestion for writing down what you are worried about etc. I’m definitely going to share that one and use it as well. I used to be a huge worry wart but these days I use techniques I’ve accumulated to process things better. Navigating through many of life’s challenges can be made so much easier if you open yourself up more.

      • Elle

        Hi Melissa…I don’t think you’re alone in the worry wart stakes. We’ve all been there. I do like what you say about opening ourself up a bit more to make lifes challenges easier. A big YES to that one. 🙂

  2. Dear Elle,
    I admit that I sometimes get caught in over thinking a challenge or a decision. Thanks for underlining how that doesn’t help and your fabulous suggestion of a worry chart! You are so right, a good sleep can change everything.

    Pushing “pause” helps me when things go wrong. It gives me the space to relax and have a wider perspective. It feels easier to approach the challenge once I have a break.

  3. Hi Elle,
    As always,I have finished reading your post,and my introspection gears are whirring overtime beacuse of what I’ve just read.That is the incredible effect of your writing.
    God only knows how easily you manage to “seam” up such powerful thoughts in a flow.That’s a divine gift you have ,and we have -through your posts.
    I love that one -that there is a gap between stimulus and response and our power to grow and change lies in that space.
    Thanks Elle

  4. I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours Elle. Love it. I love your suggestion for writing down what you are worried about etc. I’m definitely going to share that one and use it as well. I used to be a huge worry wart but these days I use techniques I’ve accumulated to process things better. Navigating through many of life’s challenges can be made so much easier if you open yourself up more.

  5. Hi Elle,
    Always felt insightful after reading your post. Talking about Box (point no. 5), my thought is there is not way to throw away the box. We can’t even get out of the box. We are always in the box no matter what we do. There will always be invisible rules from our experiences to box us up. I feel the most we can do is to expand our box. It’s more of a whose box is bigger than who is outside the box. 🙂

    • Elle

      It’s always interesting to see what other’s believe Joe and how it impacts the way we live and experience life. Box or no box or bigger box it is always about expansion isn’t it? 🙂

  6. Hi Elle, you never fail to amaze me with such great post. Life is full of ups and downs which we cannot get rid off, you are right, real success in life is determined by how you deal with pain or disappointment, it is a matter of seeing the good in every bad situation, don’t let it put you down. Instead, accept it as a reality of life and learn from it, then move on. Thanks for sharing.

    • Elle

      Hi Sherill, thanks for your insights. I’m happy you enjoy the posts and truly hope you find them encouraging.

  7. Hi Elle,

    You have listed some powerful suggestions for handling challenges. It is always good to remember that you are not alone. Even if someone has a different challenge, everyone has had to go through the ups and downs of life. I try and remember gratitude when I’m struggling and to be happy for what is going right. Thanks for the great post!

    • Elle

      I like what you say about remembering gratitude Cathy. It’s such a powerfully uplifting emotion, bringing all kinds of wonderful things into life.

  8. Thank you Elle for your article. My process for handling days when things go very wrong is to remember that sometimes bad things happen to good people, it is called life. I try to stay resilient so I don’t break. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to stay resilient but I am reminded by the author Paulo Coelho who said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, it is moving ahead despite the existence of fear”. So I do the best that I can with what I have, and move ahead.

    • Elle

      Thanks for sharing the Paul Coelho quote with us. Doing the best we can with where we are is all that we can ask for really. And keep moving forward so tomorrow we’re in a better place than today. Can’t do fairer than that now can we. 🙂

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