SUCH is the unpredictability of life that you can be up one moment, and down the next. You can be doing very well in your job but a sudden change in circumstances puts you in danger of losing it.

It is during moments like these that you feel a sense of bewildering loss, dread and despair. What makes you a resilient person is your ability to take the falls in your life when they come and to pick up the pieces quickly.

You may have heard of Helen Keller (1880-1968) who became blind and deaf after an illness when she was 19 months old. Despite these disabilities, she went on to lead a fulfilling life as an author, lecturer and a political activist. She was the first deaf and blind person in the United States to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.

A major part of her success may be credited to her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, who had to overcome her own disabilities in her early life. She became a role model and mentor to Helen Keller, and taught her how to read, write and speak. This inspiring story speaks volumes about the triumph of the human spirit.

How can you overcome the obstacles that life throws at you? For a start, take a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “Who am I?”

If you see a failure reflected in the mirror, then the road to happiness and success is going to be much harder. Try visualising yourself as a person of great emotional and mental energy who sees failure as a temporary setback and an opportunity to do better. Seeing yourself in a more positive light will help you heal faster and you will learn to be more resilient.

Here are some tips on how you can pick up the pieces more quickly:

Resolve problems

Problems are a part of life. It is how you deal with them that matters. Try to see every problem that you face as a challenge that needs to be resolved so that you can move forward.

This may not be an easy thing to do, especially when you are confronted with problems that appear to have no clear solutions. Here is where you need to take a cold hard look at each problem to see what you can do about it.

Remember that confronting a problem is always a better option than avoiding it. Even if you don’t solve it on the first try, you are one step closer to resolution. If logic fails to give you the answers that you seek, you have to turn to more creative ways, or enlist the help of other people.

Make good decisions

There are some decisions that you have to make that raise moral and ethical dilemmas. This is when you need to peg your decisions to values and principles. The question that you have to ask is, “Am I doing things right or am I doing the right thing?”

When you do the right thing, you will see yourself as a person of high integrity. This might not quite solve the dilemma that you are in, but it will give you the peace of mind that you have not compromised your values and principles. As motivational guru Zig Ziglar once said: “Tough times never last but tough people do.”

Ride the waves

When crisis and hard times descend on you, keep your bearings. Tell yourself that you have the power to chart your own course and not be swept away by changing circumstances.

Take a cue from British businessman and motivational speaker Adlin Sinclair who said: “You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions.”

Prioritise tasks

When you find yourself in uncharted waters, take the challenges that you face one day at a time. There are many issues in our lives that we cannot solve immediately. Some of these issues are cyclical and rear their heads from time to time.

Prioritise the issues that you face in order of importance and tackle those that you can solve quickly. This will give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to deal with the more difficult problems.

Break big problems into smaller pieces and tackle them one piece at a time. Keep a log of what you are doing so that you can measure your progress. With each success, you will find the strength to move on.

An old Indian says: “If you hit the rock continuously and long enough it will eventually break.” This is true of big problems too. And once you overcome them, you will emerge stronger and more resilient.