How You React to Life Matters

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll

Are you aware of how you react to unfavorable circumstances? How do you deal with the curveballs life throws at you? How do you face adversity? How do you work through hardships and difficulties?

Every person reacts differently to misfortune. Some wallow in despair and believe that their lives will always be miserable. Meanwhile, some see adversity as an opportunity for growth. You see, life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you. And it’s essential to truly understand what this means.

That One Incident

You may have experienced a specific disappointment or problem that became a turning point in your life. You may notice that you feel like you’re the victim or the wounded soul from these situations. After that incident, you could’ve decided to be a different person or chose to do things differently.

Often, people hang on to that ‘one incident’ for the rest of their lives. They cling to it and use it as a crutch whenever they experience failure. They go back to that one incident and see it as a reasonable excuse why they act the way they did.

Usually, in those stories, the common denominator is that there is an incident or a person that caused the pain or hurt. You’ll rarely hear people accept responsibility immediately, you may not even, too. People would rather believe that “this person made me this way” instead of saying “I chose to be this way.”

You may even experience this as an individual, too. There could be incidents in your past that you hang on to and that forced you to react a certain way. No one is free of these burdens.

It’s About How You React

People have this natural tendency to blame someone or something else, yet they don’t see that life deals the same cards for everyone.

For example, a person born into a poor family grows up living with financial hardships. And if he believes that he can never make ends meet, so shall it be. And so, he grows envious of rich people and thinks that the rich have it easy.

There are indeed people who are lucky to be born with a silver spoon. However, do the rich stay wealthy without putting in the work? You can see that the most successful businessmen continue to innovate and come up with new ideas and strategies. They don’t stop working because they have the money.

You see, it’s not what happens to you that matters. Rather, it’s how you react and what you do about it that makes the difference. How your life works out boils down to what you do – this is what sets apart people who strive for success and people who get stuck.

It’s a Tough Pill to Swallow

Everyone experiences disappointments. The question is, what are you going to do about them? This is a question many people hide from.

Perhaps, some people don’t want to make significant changes in their life because it takes more effort and courage. Some may want to stay in the past because it’s easier. And there may be those who prefer not to take action, just so they can share another story of not being given a choice. All of them sound like excuses, don’t they?

It’s a tough pill to swallow – knowing that your failures and mistakes are a result of what you didn’t do and how poorly you reacted to adversity or a problem. Admitting you are part of the problem is just as hard.

You Have a Responsibility


  • You have the choice to react negatively or positively and to fight or to quit.
  • You don’t have to cling to the past. Learn what you need and move on.
  • Yes, you can control your emotions.
  • You are responsible for your own life, attitude, and decision – not a circumstance or someone else.
  • Accept the truth that your actions determine how your life works out.
  • You hold the power to heal and change your life.

Here’s some inspiration to share and reflect on:

  • Benjamin Franklin stopped studying when he was 10 because his family was poor. Instead, he taught himself and became one of the founding fathers of the U.S.
  • Business magnate Richard Branson had low grades in school because of dyslexia. Look at how successful he is now.
  • At the age of 39, Franklin Roosevelt was paralyzed. That didn’t stop him from becoming the 32nd president of the U.S.
  • No publishing house would even consider publishing Stephen King’s first novel. King’s wife encouraged him to complete it, and it has sold 350 million copies since.
  • Thomas Edison failed so many times when he was trying to create the light bulb. Can you imagine life without light if he gave up on his 100th or 500th try?

It’s What You Do That Makes the Difference

You always have a choice. Choose to persevere, be hopeful, and be happy. Learn to react the best way you can, so you can live your life without regrets and hang-ups. Cut the cord that connects you to the past or that ‘one incident.’ You deserve to live better. You deserve happiness!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Who knows? You might even share a couple of glasses with your neighbors!