Confront adverse circumstances

By Charles Yeung   Translated by Soula Lo

There are times we might encounter an adverse circumstance in our life. How to learn the skills to deal with an adverse circumstance is a kind of profound knowledge. Nowadays, the global economic crisis affects all occupations. Due to the reality of the present situation, I would like to discuss the methods of dealing with such an adverse circumstance. 

To deal with an adverse circumstance, and overcome these kinds of situations, we have to break through three barriers:

  1. Mental barrier.
  2. Knowledge barrier.
  3. Practice barrier.

I. Mental or attitude barrier

When we encounter an adverse circumstance, we must maintain positive thinking and have faith. China’s prime minister Wen Jiabao said, “Faith is more important than gold.” China’s vice chairman Xi Jinping also said, “As long as our faith is not falling, the solutions are always more than the difficulties.” In September 1944, while China was in a very difficult time in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the leader of the People’s Republic of China addressed, “When we are in the difficult times, our comrades must have a vision for success, must be able to see the light, and must enhance our courage.” While browsing through books about how to deal with an adverse circumstance, I found Mao Zedong’s poem that Mr. Chang Li quotes in his article, Seek Survival in an adverse circumstance:
“Although the sky is churning, the current is chilly and rapid; the earth is still blowing the warm and gentle breeze.” When we are in the most difficult time, it will gradually create a common consensus from all directions, to deal with the rapid chilly current. This power is the warm and gentle breeze in the chilly current.

During adverse circumstances, we have to awake the sense of commitment and responsibility bearing deep in our heart, and establish a persistent and undaunted spirit to fight with the resolution of “either win or die.” Only this way, can we awake our desire for survival; bring out wisdom and capability from our subconscious.

While in adverse circumstances, the worst thing to do is to give up and run away; therefore, if people ask, “what is the worst failure in life?” The answer would be, “give up and run away.”

II. Knowledge barrier

This means theories. How to confront an adverse circumstance? We have to find the right methods, and search for the right ways that are based upon good theories. First, we have to overcome the mental barrier. Only when we have established a positive attitude ourselves, can we gather the staff who also have a positive attitude, and to search and cultivate more cadre members.  Upon having a positive attitude in the whole process, we must set an example; less talk and more action is the best method.  Gradually, we will affect people around us, so they would also establish the determination to “confront the adverse circumstance,” fight together in the adverse battlefield, and learn the wisdom and capability of “dealing with the adverse circumstance.”

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s way of dealing with adverse circumstance was, “Face the failure;
learn from the mistakes.”

“Face the failure” means we should be faithful to the truth, and absolutely obey the data numbers, not look for excuses, but put into  practice the best and only standards to examine Truth.

In some cases, specialists think, “True, if you are a powerful man with a leader’s charisma, you should spend some time to think  that, a leader’s charisma is an asset, but is also a debt. Your merits of character could also bear the seeds of problems. Your followers will automatically filter information, preventing you from seeing the cruel truth. You have to be very aware of this, and spend a lot of time to focus on this problem, and always watch out for the side effects.”

Churchill was very aware of a powerful man’s weakness. During the darkest days of World War II, almost all European countries and North African tribes had fallen into the Nazi’s hand. The United States putting its own safety as its first priority, therefore allowed Adolf Hitler the chance to attack Britain with all of Germany’s force (at the time, they hadn’t invaded the Soviet Union yet). Churchill said, “We will never give up, never! We will never parley; we will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land; we shall fight him by sea; we shall fight him in the air, until, with God’s help, we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its people from his yoke.”

Although Churchill held a bold vision, he was willing to face the cruel reality. He was afraid that he couldn’t hear the truly bad  news because of his powerful character, so beyond the normal command system, he established a completely independent department: the Statistic department, during the early stage of the war. This department’s main function was to provide him with the most updated and unfiltered cruel facts (for example, this unit would check and confirm how many fighter planes had been damaged or lost, and the current level of supplies). During World War II, he valued this special unit greatly. He constantly requested them to provide him with the facts, and as long as the data was true to the facts, everything was considered okay. When the Nazi’s armored troops swept the entirety of Europe, Churchill still slept soundly every night. He said, “I had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams.”

“In difficult times, which kind of person cannot persist until the end?” Case studies from research reports tell us, “The blindly optimistic person, who hasn’t found the way out.” This kind of optimist would say in a difficult time, “We will solve the problem before Christmas.” As a result, Christmas comes, and Christmas goes, yet the problem is still there. And then they say, “We will definitely solve the problem before Easter.” As a result, Easter also passes. Next is thanksgiving, and then, Christmas comes again. At the end, they fail because they are heartbroken.

At the most difficult time, the method of using a cheering vision is a complete waste of time. The real problem is that we don’t  have many bullets left. What kind of method should we use that would not strike down the staffs’ spirit? The easiest way to strike their spirit is by offering the illusion of empty hope. Later on, empty hope cannot pass the test; it will become burst and extinguished.

III. Practice barrier

In an adverse circumstance, there are five weapons which can help you win the battle:

1. Problems? Great!

2. Identify the critical point of time to achieve success.

3. Inspire oneself.

4. Inspire others.

5. Act immediately.

1. Problems? Great! This is a way to look at the problems with a positive attitude. We think of ourselves as highly skilled at management, and have the top level of practice. Now that we have encountered a truly adverse circumstance, it is a great opportunity to test our capabilities of management and our level of practice; therefore we say, “Great! This is the opportunity of a lifetime, so rare and so wonderful. It is the best time to test our practicing level and our blessed fortune.”

2. Identify the critical point of time to achieve success. 3. Inspire oneself. 4. Inspire others. Establish a red flag system. Put a red  flag on any problem that would seriously harm the company. Everyone should share the same goal, deal with problems together as one, and no one should hold back confronting critical matters. Only in this way, can the company act as one unit, and thus, inspire ourselves and our staff. Everyone should have resolution and courage to either achieve success or die.

5. Act immediately: List the important matters that need to be modified, mark them with red flags. Identify five matters at the most (less is better) and expect to see results within two years. Examine and estimate the current cadre members. If some people are not able to bear the responsibility, then look for other or new members who possess the resolution, courage, capability and willingness to confront any adverse circumstance with us. Then we can fight together in any adverse circumstance of battle, to strike back in any dangerous situation.

(The end)

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