Friday, September 7, 2012

Life Lessons—Getting the Most Out of a Bad Situation

by Reba J Hoffman

Life is filled with unexpected pleasures. At least that’s what I say when I’m faced with those challenges that blindside me and make me want to hide my head in a hole.

I used to hate those times. I’m still not comfortable in them but I’ve come to have a very healthy respect for them. We’re friends and enemies in the same relationship.

I’ve learned that bad situations can help you and me in so many ways. Here are a few. 
  • Knowledge and wisdom. Hands down, the wisdom you gain through challenges is more than you will ever gain from any other force in life. You can’t get that type of wisdom from reading a book. Only through experience.
  • Exponential growth. A pastor once told me, “It’s not what you go through, but what you grow through that counts.” At the time I had no idea how true that was. You will grow by leaps and bounds through bad situations than through gravy days.
  • Fortitude. When you have to dig deep and tough it out, you gain a wealth of strength and tenacity. Good thing, too because you’ll be sure to need it in the future.
  • Aware of Unfair. Remember when you were a kid and you found yourself on the short end? You likely stuck out your lower lip and said, “That’s not fair.” Well, guess what? Life isn’t fair but it was not designed to be. Life is full of opportunity. If life were fair you’d never get a book published. Why? Well, that wouldn’t be fair to all those really bad writers, now would it?!
  • Pleasure. One of the greatest things about being uncomfortable during a bad situation is when it’s over. You relax and bask in how good you feel. Your pleasure receptors soak in the feeling and cause you to release good chemicals in your brain. You just plain feel GREAT.

Bad situations are never fun but they are ohhhh so valuable in your life and writing. Make friends with them. Suck the goodie out of them. Record them in your heart. The day will come when you will be very glad you did.

What bad situations have you experienced? What did you learn? How has that helped you? Leave a comment!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Thanks for the wise words, Reba! I loved the quote, "It's not what you go through, but what you grow through that counts."

    1. When I really listened to what my Pastor was saying, I realized he was right. I realized God doesn't waste anything. ALL things work together for good.

  2. I can identify with your post! As believers, we have to trust that nothing happens in our lives without the Father's
    loving care. If we love Him, He works it for our good.
    But it sure smarts when we are going through it. Thanks for posting.

  3. In the spring of 2011 I lost my youngest child. She had been bipolar and had given me plenty of opportunities to grow. She is now in heaven and no longer in pain and confusion but I have learned a lot through out the last year (and the last fifteen years of her life) God reveals Himself in those times. Thank you for your post, God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

  4. Glenda, so very sorry for your loss, but so grateful that you have gained valuable wisdom through the most difficult challenge a mother could ever face

  5. I agree with every. single. word. That is, until I'm going through the tough time. Then I'm on the floor, pitching a fit even though I know there's a lesson. Wish I handled those times with more grace, but you're right, good always comes from them. ALWAYS.

  6. What wonderful and helpful words Reba. I've been a thought some difficult times and this was a great reminder that good can come from the bad.

    Thank you

  7. Sorry . . . iPad not working properly when trying to type. Wanted to type and say I have been through some difficult times recently. :)

  8. Sorry . . . iPad not working properly when trying to type. Wanted to type and say I have been through some difficult times recently. :)

  9. I hope trouble doesn't stay around long enough to make friends with it, but I do love your statement, "Suck all the goodie out of them". There is always some goodie to extract from obstacles and I can usually use it to help someone else who is going through a similar situation.Thanks for the great advice.