How do you cope with hardship?
Imagine a blue bird enters your bedroom through your open window. It flocks around the room and then gets stuck in the pile of unorganized stuff you have behind you. The bird cannot get out. You feel weirdly attached to it and decide to leave it be.
To your surprise, the following day you notice that the bird has altered its colour. It is yellow now! From then on, you realize this unusual bird changes its colour every single night. It turns red on the third day and black on the fourth.
What is the colour of the bird on the fourth day?
- A. Black. The bird has not changed its colour.
- B. The bird has altered its colour and turned blue.
- C. The bird has altered its colour and turned white.
- D. The bird has altered its colour and turned gold.
Think of this bird as a symbol of your luck. It comes, representing your happiness, but then changes its colour, as if to caution you about the vicissitudes of life. Your reaction to the bird is therefore indicative of your actions in the face of adversity.
- A. Black Bird. You are pessimistic. You may assume that once a situation goes back, there is no chance for a positive change. You may think, “If this is that bad, it cannot possibly get worse.” Please remember that no rain is never-ending, and no night remains uninterrupted by the dawn.
- B. Blue Bird. You’re a practical optimist. You believe that life is ultimately a combination of good and evil—a reality no one can fight against. In the face of adversity, you stand up straight with your shoulders back, facing difficulties head on. You’re quite the stoic. This worldview has allowed you to cope with hardship successfully, to remain standing despite the seemingly fatal tides that could have done you in.
- C. White Bird. You remain calm and rational under pressure. You don’t waste time on excitement or indecisiveness, even when the situation is critical. If the situation becomes insufferable, you simply find a way to find a prompt solution and move beyond this hardship. You know you’re better off seeking new horizons than letting unfruitful stations suck you in. You achieve your goals in an organic, rather collected manner.
- D. Gold Bird. You’re fearless. You do not view adversity as “adversity.” To you, difficult situations are just another chance to change things up and improve. We could even compare you to Napoleon, who notoriously noted “N’est Pas Français,” meaning that “cannot” does not belong in the French dictionary.
Still, be careful! Your self-assurance may prove fatal if it is not balanced with a certain dose of self-preservation and calculation. The line between fearlessness and stupidity is thin.
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Psychologist, family therapist, author
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