Making Lemonade: Finding the Sweet in the Sour by turning life’s Challenges into Opportunities
The saying goes: “When life give you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, when life gives you chronic disease, you better learn to make a whole lot of lemonade. There will certainly be plenty of opportunities to practice!
Speaking of practice, this is something I have done a lot of in my life. I would say these days I am pretty good at making lemonade. In fact, it is a skill that has now allowed me to open a “Lemonade Stand” if you will.
As a coach and speaker, I now help others make lemonade out of their lemons, by sharing my lemonade, and my secret lemonade recipes.
Okay, okay, that’s enough lemonade metaphors for one blog! Let’s get into the real truth of the matter.
Whether you have a chronic disease or not, life is still full of plenty of challenges. As it has been said by many wise people in a variety of ways, “We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how he respond to it.” Take a moment and really think about that. No matter what happens in life, it is our attitude and our response that makes those situations “good” or “bad.” While that may sound good in theory and makes for a great motivational poster, how do we actually implement this idea into our lives? How do we choose to make lemonade, when the universe seems to be giving us the most sour of lemons?
Simple. . .
Like any skill worth learning, being able to shift into a positive mindset, and make the best of every situation, takes practice and it takes patience. It is unrealistic to think that just reading this blog, or deciding to “think positive” is going to make a substantial impact on your day to day life. But, if you practice everyday, one step at a time, you will transform your mindset, and your life.
So, if practice is the key, what should you practice? Well, I’m glad you asked. The following exercise is simple, but powerful. If you can build it into your daily routine, you will be amazed at the positive changes it can create for you.Give it a try:
I call this exercise Sugar Vision, because it is all about learning to see the sweetness, the good, in any situation.
- Think about a challenging situation from the distant past. Nothing too emotionally uncomfortable, but something you can easily remember. The situation should have been challenging for you in some way, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. Start with something simple. In the future, you can use more complex and current situations. For now, start with something that happened in the past and no longer effects you.
Example: I broke my thumb my senior year of high school. It was on the hand I write with, so I had to use my non-dominant hand for everything.
- Ask yourself, “What good came from this? Where is the sugar in this situation?” This may be challenging at first, but stick with it. Even if you only find one small, seemingly unimportant thing. Find something good. I guarantee it is there.
Example: Because I couldn’t write, the school provided me with a laptop. I was able to take notes and do my assignments on the computer instead of by hand. I also was able to take some of my finals with an oral exam, rather than a written one. These tests ended up being shorter, and easier than the written versions.
That’s it. Simple. Find a challenging situation from your past, then find the good that came from it. When you are comfortable with this exercise, the real magic happens. Looking back, you should be able to see that there was something good, something sweet, in all of your past challenges. When you realize this, you can then take the understanding and apply it to more recent, and current scenarios. If there was good in all the challenges of the past, there must be good in the challenges of the present, and there will be good in any future challenges too. You can also apply this thinking to events or situations that still have a strong emotional pull on you.
Example: When I had my seizures and had to deal with the medications and side effects, it was one of the most challenging and unpleasant experiences of my life. However, so much good came from it. I learned to really listen to my intuition. I found a deeper appreciation for life, and all of the people in mine. I found a deeper connection to my spirit, and my purpose. And the list goes on and on . . .
Now, when challenges present themselves, I know there is always a hidden good in them. Something sweet just waiting to be discovered. This shifts my mindset away from blame and anger to a place of gratitude and curiosity. What is this situation trying to teach me? What can I learn from this challenge? It has taken me a lot of time and effort to get to this point, but here I am. You can find your way too. Just practice. Start small. Start simple. Turn on your “Sugar Vision” and find the sweetness in life’s lemons. Before you know it, you will be making your own delicious lemonade.
In time, you may even inspire others to do the same. . .
About the Author
Adam is an author, transformational speaker, and stress management coach. His powerful yet approachable and easy-to-understand wisdom have the potential to make a powerful shift in your life. Combining ancient wisdom and modern science, he helps his clients achieve their personal and professional goals, free from stress and worry. My journey has taught me some powerful, profound, and incredible things. Walk with me, and I'll teach them to you too.