Dealing with change and uncertainty – roll with the punches

In boxing, a fighter will roll or move with a punch to lessen its impact. This is particularly important when you consider that a fighter must withstand many punches from their opponent to remain standing. In life, we need both adaptability and resilience to withstand adversity. The Covid-19 pandemic is challenging us on many levels, including our health, economy, livelihood and wellbeing. Bouncing back from adversity is often easier said than done.

Change that is sudden and unwelcome can be paralysing. When we are uncertain of what the future holds, it can trigger a fear the unknown. Our focus fixates on what we can’t control, rather than what we can control. Consider this, a boxer accepts that once they are inside the ring, at some point they will get hit. The worst-case scenario is that they may get knocked out and lose the fight.  They have no control over their opponent’s actions. However, they know what is within their scope of control, for example, the way in which they react to their opponent. Rather than stand there and get hit, they can roll away from a punch to lessen the severity of the impact.

While this is a sports analogy, the same principals can be applied to real life. Years ago, when I worked in marketing, I lost my job. I threw myself into my role, assuming my hard work would pay off in the end. I worked overtime, took on tasks outside my job description and to my delight, hit all my targets. Soon after the company went through a restructure, and I was let go. The experience was awful, but it helped me look at my job realistically, and realise what I didn’t want. And at that moment, it was an unrewarding career that sucked the life energy from me. So, I decided to change tactics and roll with the situation I found myself in. I contacted a trusted employment recruiter to find me another job, in a different industry with better hours that allowed me time for the things I loved. It set me on a more rewarding path in life.

When adversity is thrown your way, it’s important not let fear paralyse you into non-action. By accepting your adversity what it is, no sugar coating, and being open-minded and flexible, you can respond appropriately to lessen the impact. Roll with the punches friends, and you’ll have a better chance of not being knocked out by life.

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