“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”John Wooden
This insightful quote from legendary basketball coach John Wooden recognizes a simple truth – we can’t control everything that happens to us. Life will invariably throw setbacks, obstacles, and unexpected events our way. What we can control is how we choose to interpret and respond to whatever comes at us.
Rather than wallowing in disappointment when things don’t go as planned, we can shift our mindset to make the absolute best of the situation. This agile adaptability allows us to turn challenges into opportunities for growth and progress. As Wooden knew, achievement lies not in the perfect hand you’re dealt but rather in how you play that hand.
Making the Best of Any Situation
When plans fall apart, project timelines slip, or you face other unanticipated hurdles, it’s easy to get frustrated and give up. Making the best of the situation first requires acknowledging that initial letdown emotionally. Don’t suppress it.
Then, begin actively looking for ways to work with the new reality, not against it.
- How can you reframe the circumstance into a positive?
- What opportunities does the change open up?
Getting creative and focusing on potential versus lamenting loss allows you to thrive.
Adjusting Your Mindset
Often, the difference between those who bounce back from adversities and those who crumble is simply mindset. Rather than seeing a setback as catastrophic, view it as a chance to exercise your problem-solving abilities.
- Don’t take events personally.
- Shift your inner narrative from “I can’t catch a break!” to “This will make me more resilient.”
- Recognize when you get dealt a tough hand and make the conscious choice to play it as best as you can.
Your power lies in how you interpret what happens.
Cultivating Optimism and Gratitude
Even when things go wrong, there are always positives to be found if you look. Focus on what you still have versus what you lack.
Did a job opportunity fall through? Be grateful for the lessons learned and the chance to clarify your perfect role. Got stuck in traffic and missed an event? Find thanks that you avoided an accident.
Expressing gratitude for any bright spots in negative situations keeps your mindset uplifted.
Taking Action Over Wallowing
When you get derailed by an unexpected problem, it’s tempting to wallow in self-pity, thinking, “Why me?” But ruminating on what went wrong drains your energy for fixing it.
Instead of lingering on disappointments, pivot quickly to ask, “Now what?” Reflect briefly, then redirect all focus to brainstorming your next steps. Taking positive action gives you power over problems. Progress comes from doing, not stewing.
Learning and Growing from Mistakes
Setbacks not only test our resilience but also provide vital lessons to fuel future success if we’re open to learning. Ask yourself,
- “What could I do differently next time?”
- “How can I grow from this?”
Taking a growth mindset allows you to mine mistakes and challenges for the wisdom they contain. You gain knowledge to emerge stronger rather than making the same errors repeatedly. Use life’s stumbles as stepping stones.
Finding Small Wins in the Midst of Major Challenges
When you’re facing a huge, complex problem, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up. The key is breaking it down into bite-sized pieces.
Identify minor progress steps and milestones. Celebrate small daily forward momentum to maintain morale and hope when the overall undertaking feels daunting and endless. Even major challenges become surmountable when compartmentalized.
The Power of Flexibility and Adaptability
Rigidity is what breaks us when circumstances change. Successful people across fields all share the common trait of adaptability. They don’t cling stubbornly to one approach.
When Plan A stalls, they pivot and get creative, trying Plan B, C, or Z. Developing your flexibility muscle allows you to make the best of whatever unique hand you’re dealt each day, even when it’s far from ideal.
Staying Resilient Through the Highs and Lows
Over the course of life, you will face seasons of hardship and periods of ease. What keeps you levelheaded through the turbulence is remembering both are temporary.
Catastrophic thinking like “I’ll never recover from this!” gives situations too much power.
Believing in your ability to eventually bounce back, whether now or later, builds resilience to continue making the best of the situation in front of you.
To summarize John Wooden’s quote, circumstances themselves don’t determine our success nearly as much as mindset, action, and agility in responding.
Making the best of the way things work out breeds resourcefulness and grit to turn challenges into opportunities. That growth mindset allows you to play whatever hand you’re dealt as masterfully as you can.