Overcoming Adversity in Business


Ben Franklin is purported to have said, “out of adversity comes opportunity.” This statement and similar words of wisdom are encouraging as we face the challenges of life. What is interesting is to watch how different people handle adversity. Why is it that some crumble under the pressure and others rise to the occasion? We now have research that gives us additional insight into this quality of resilience. Dr. Paul G. Stoltz introduced a concept about how well a person is able to cope, handle and withstand adversities, to recover from those adversities and to turn them into opportunities which he called his Adversity Quotient®. His research now spans thirty years and includes studies of over 500,000 individuals. Dr. Stoltz has authored numerous articles and three books on this topic. The AQ® provides a score that let’s you know how resilient you are. Stoltz notes, “resilience is not simply about bouncing back from adversity — it’s your capacity to be strengthened and improved by it.”

Stoltz describes three major classifications of people in terms of their resilience: quitters, campers, and climbers. Quitters surrender at the first sign of trouble and are reluctant to make use of opportunity. As Stoltz says, they “opt out, cop out, back out, and drop out.” Campers are content with their first success and choose not strive for more. They settle for “what is” versus “what could be.” Climbers, in spite of obstacles, continue to climb the success ladder with hopes of reaching the highest place. Climbers are usually described as “persistent, tenacious, and resilient.” The good news from this research is that your Adversity Quotient® can increase, and even though I may be a camper today, I can actually become more of a climber with knowledge and intentionality.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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