When life throws you unexpected challenges, how you handle them is what really matters.

Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."

During tough times, the solutions you come up with are proof of your mettle.

Of course, you do not have to wait for a problem to turn into an opportunity. From time to time, you may make mistakes, but you can learn from them. When something does not go the way you want, you must start taking steps to amend it.

Similarly, if opportunity does not knock on your door, then you may have to initiate the knocking yourself.

Recognise that there are times in your life when you have to make your own luck. Being optimistic and enthusiastic gives you the energy to face uncertainties and seek out new opportunities.

Here are some steps you can take to open new doors in your life:

Re-invent yourself

Take stock of the times when you have done well as well as when you have met with setbacks. In those areas that you feel you have not done well, try to think of alternatives to how similar situations can be handled should they occur again.

Doing so will allow new ideas to flow. Make room in your life to try out different things. This can include trying a new route on your way to work or home, discovering another place for lunch or reading books by an author who is new to you. Making these small changes in your life can give you fresh perspectives.

Upgrade yourself

Look at your abilities and see how else you can employ them to good use.

If you are knowledgeable in a subject, what else can you do to enhance your expertise? Can your skills be put to other uses?

Be alert to the changes that are occurring around you and decide whether you need to upgrade your skills to stay relevant.

There may be ample opportunities in your organisation to upgrade your skills. Even if you do not see immediate returns, approach such opportunities with zeal because you never know when your proficiency will come in handy.

Break your routine

People are creatures of habit and tend to settle into a comfort zone when tasked to do the same thing over and over again.

Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, you may fall into the trap of becoming complacent.

To counter this, vary your patterns once in a while. You can do this by looking at other ways of handling a task at work that you perform regularly.

If you are already good at a certain duty, volunteer to do something else from time to time. Exploring uncharted territory lets you discover possibilities or opportunities you never knew existed.

Grow your knowledge

Creating opportunities in your life requires you to expand your knowledge. This, in turn, broadens your mental parameters. A liberal mind allows you to see things from different perspectives and come up with fresh ideas.

Develop the habit of reading a variety of subjects to improve your general knowledge. If you have no time, listen to audio recordings of a book or motivational speech while you are commuting to and from work.

The Internet is an extremely good source of information. You can pick up nuggets of facts and news even if you are surfing leisurely.

The secret to creating opportunities is not to always think big. Sometimes it is the little things that give you the edge.

Do not waste time waiting for your big break to come along. You have to make things happen.

As American comedian Milton Berle said: "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!"