In today’s highly competitive work environment, to survive, thrive and succeed takes a lot of determination, hard work, personal discipline and courage. In these present conditions how does one handle the stress? Survival and success in our careers depend on how we deal with the many daily strains that threaten our physical and mental well-being. Apart from pressures at work, many of us have obligations at home to our family members. Balancing the two is mentally and physically burdensome.

The work culture and working conditions have changed over the years. According to research conducted by Peak Learning Inc., a corporate consulting firm based in California, a person faces 27 occurrences of adversity in a typical day, which is almost a 300% increase from 13 years ago. This means that on any given day, we have to deal with a combination of many minor annoyances and major setbacks in the place where we spend most our time–at work.

Success depends on how we handle adversity. “It’s a rare person who can thrive, and flourish, and prosper in the same difficult circumstances that tend to beat most people up” says Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D., CEO of Peak Learning and author of Adversity Quotient @ Work. These exceptional people, who have high Adversity Quotients (AQs)–are estimated to be about 5% to 25% of the people in any given organization. They are able to harness adversity and allow it to make them something better as a result of their struggle.

Adversity Quotient®, or AQ®, is the science of human resilience. People who have high AQ perform optimally in the face of adversity–the challenges, big and small, that confront us each day. In fact, they not only learn from these challenges, but they also respond to them better and faster.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the obligations at work and home, there are many ways to better manage your situation:

  • Find creative outlets—People who have a creative outlets and interests apart from the job or the career is better equipped to cope with adversity.
  • Ease up the load by delegating to others (both at home and at work).
  • Nurture and make time for yourself. When you neglect yourself, you are headed for trouble. Avoid burnouts by giving time for yourself and doing things you love.

You get to live your life only once, but if lived right, once is enough. You might not have all you want, given to you. But if you have all you want, then what is the joy of struggling and succeeding. The following poem (author unknown) tells us why we should be thankful for the challenges, struggles, obstacles, limitations and so on.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

To live your life in your own way… to struggle, fail and then succeed… to make mistakes and learn from them… to help others and get help from others… to laugh and to make others laugh…to set goals and strive for them… to love and to be loved… to be the you that you want to be…that is success, satisfaction, bliss…


  1. James Bright said,

    December 19, 2005 at 2:40 am

    Excellent writing.
    You are amazing…

  2. anu said,

    December 19, 2005 at 12:44 pm

    hmm u r very true… AQ is a new concept for me.. but it has struck a cord.. also i feel that it improves as u face more and more adversities in ur life provided u have the strenght to face them.. in chilhood too u must face small adversities otherwise u wont be able to face them as u grow up..
    and when u have to bear more than u can.. poems like these helps..

  3. -poison- said,

    December 19, 2005 at 2:23 pm

    i am hearing about AQ for the first time. Thanks for the info, sir.
    and the poem is beautifully real.

  4. Alexis Leon said,

    December 19, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    James Bright: Thanks. The poems on your blog are really nice–small and sweet.
    Anu: AQ concept has been around for a few years. Many big organizations give training on AQ to their employees. You can download a couple of white papers that will give you an overview of AQ from the Download section of Peak Learning Inc. More about AQ can be got from the following two books:

    1. Adversity Quotient @ Work: Make Everyday Challenges the Key to Your Success–Putting the Principles of AQ into Action by Paul G. Stoltz (William Morrow, ISBN: 068817759X)
    2. Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities by Paul G. Stoltz (Wiley, ISBN: 0471344133)

    You are right about the need facing small setbacks and learning to cope with them during childhood. The most pampered and protected children are the ones who find it most difficult to face failures and setbacks. So it is better to give responsibilities, duties and opportunities so that they get experience and can learn from their failures and successes.
    -poison-: Thank you buddy

  5. Paresh said,

    December 20, 2005 at 12:04 am

    AQ sounds good, but you may sometimes feel frustrated when you see people achieving things with fifty percent effort & virtually nil adversity. Anyway, I’m going to download the papers & see if I can improve on my AQ. Thanks