Things rarely turn out just the way you pictured. You must learn to deal with the ups and downs that life can throw at you. We picture the path to success as being linear and smooth. The quickest route between two points is a straight line, and that is the path we want to be on at all times.

There is only one problem with that path, and that is the fact that it's rare. I would even go as far to say that it is a path that does not lead anywhere worthwhile and if it does it is probably guarded by a tightrope walk over hot lava, snakes, and alligators. Success is hard because it requires walking the path less traveled, and the road is all over the place.

If you want to achieve your athletic goals or any goals in life, the first thing you must accept is that it is going to be much harder than you think. The obstacles that you think you will face and the ones you meet will look much different. I think one of the significant challenges of dealing with this is preparing for the unexpected. You have to find ways to embrace change and growth.

We love having plans in life and seeing that things work out just right. When they happen according to plan, we panic a bit thinking things are not going right. It is surviving these moments that is the difference between success and failure.

Every situation has a bright side. Few things in life are all positives or negatives. Sometimes the best ideas come out of what we deem to be the worst situations. By looking for the positive, it will help you to see that the lows are not as low as they seem at first.

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Changing Direction

One of the best things you can admit regularly is that you don't know what you are doing. The reason is that you will become more flexible with what you are willing to do to reach the goal.

The problem is that most people are flexible with their goals, but they are not with the paths that they take. This method is backward because you will never accomplish anything because the target keeps changing.

If you know what you want to accomplish in life, you make sure that you set that in stone. Then how you get there is just a matter of learning and adjusting as you go.

You can only have this mindset when you come in knowing that you are not 100% correct in everything that you are saying. If you think you are right in what you are saying you will reject information and warning signs that you need to make a change. You will believe you can grind through anything.

Successful People Embrace Change and Growth from the Ups and Downs

A lot of people think that success is about sticking to your guns and some of it is. The bigger picture though is that success is really about knowing when you need to adapt. When you are stubborn, you stick with things even when it has been shown that it is not working well. The problem with this approach is that you will hold with things way too long.

Being flexible with the path means you understand what you want in the end, and you have to be willing to adjust multiple times to get there. As an athlete, if your goal is to get a scholarship, maybe your best move is to switch positions. Switching spots could put you in the best place to excel and impress scouts.

What some athletes do is say I am going to do this my way. If I am going to play at the next level, I would rather play DIII as the position, then play D1 and start at a different position. I have seen this happen first hand.

Stay focused on the big picture goal but always keep your head on a swivel for the best way to get there. The best route is the one that is closest to the straight line we spoke about earlier. If you are not willing to adapt, you make the road much more treacherous than it needs to be.

Dealing With Sharp Turns Leading Into Ups and Downs

When the road you are on is a tough one. You have to be able to navigate the turns without going off into the ditch. The best way to go about doing this is to make the most of every single turn that you face.

To make the most of these turns, you need to stop expecting them to look how you want them to look. Just be prepared for them to come and be ready to go with the flow. You don't always have time to think and create a plan. You have to respond and go.

The turns in the road must be approached like how water approaches being in a glass of water. It goes with the flow and becomes the glass. Water realizes that for it to be utilized best, it must fit into its environment.

You must do the same to succeed in life. Blockbuster held on to rentals of VHS and DVDs and ignored what was happening with the internet. They refused to become the glass, and they were significantly punished as a result.

Dealing With The Ups and Downs

You must learn to navigate the ups and downs you call the emotional roller coaster of life. Dealing with the highs and lows of life is a lot harder than many people are willing to admit.

Let's say you win a championship, then the next day you find out that your excellent coach will no longer be with you. That is an emotional roller coaster that is hard to navigate. You are going from being super high to super low in a short period.

You've to learn to control what you can control. You cant control many things in life but yourself. When you go from a high to a low quickly, you have to be able to accept things for what they are and find the silver lining. The silver lining is the good you can take from every situation.

Every situation has a bright side. Few things in life are all positives or negatives. Sometimes the best ideas come out of what we deem to be the worst situations. By looking for the positive, it will help you to see that the lows are not as low as they seem at first.

Putting This Altogether

The point is that you need to expect the road to be a bit tougher than what you initially expected. If you go into everything assuming a straight-line path, you are going to be frustrated by the result. The people who survive what life throws at them are those who are prepared to adapt to whatever comes their way.

Once you learn to shape your environment, you must master the emotional roller coasters of life. You must not let the highs or the low make you lose focus. Life is full of ups and downs, and you have to expect them and try and keep your emotionality as even as possible.

Using Excellent Habits to Get Through The Ups and Downs

Habit Stacker provides resources to help you improve your habits. The first way we do this is through our online course Habit Mastery. The second way is with the Habit Stacker mobile app to get through the ups and downs of life.

Olympian and founder of Habit Stacker Ian Warner, teaches the Habit Mastery course. He walks you through practical techniques that you can use to improve your life. No fluff or non-sense! You get instant access to over 45 different videos breaking down how to build good habits.

The Habit Stacker app is what you use to live out your habits daily. It's a habit tracker that lets you know what you need to do each day. The app sets your daily routine board for you each day, so you all you have to do is get the task done at the top of the list. You can look back and see how much you embrace change and growth via your habits. 

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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