Difficulties are Opportunities in Disguise

Albert Einstein used to say something along the lines that difficulties are opportunities in disguise. However, how to see them when you're depressed and anxious? Continue reading to find out.
Difficulties are Opportunities in Disguise
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

Some say difficulties are opportunities in disguise as long as you keep an open mind. This is because it’s the only way in which you can identify them. However, this isn’t about strategy or having a fine-tuned plan or having technical knowledge. Knowing how to find the possibilities for change in any context also requires a healthy dose of self-confidence, enthusiasm, good emotional management, patience, and resistance to frustration, etc.

The art of knowing how to seize the day at the right time is directly related to the area of ​​personal growth. Undoubtedly, everyone would like to have that ability to see an open door somewhere between all of the closed ones. Achieving it isn’t a matter of training or having many college degrees or even luck. Also, it consists of a mental focus enabled to catch glimpses of hope between the cracks of adversity.

Many people have achieved success even in the most unlikely circumstances. A classic example of this was Steve Jobs. Far from giving up when he was fired from Apple, a company he created, he started another project no less shiny and iconic: Pixar. In a short time, he emerged as the largest shareholder in Disney.

Now, from a psychological standpoint, you must reevaluate the meaning of the term opportunity. You mustn’t connect it exclusively to the professional field and success at your job. Above all, opportunity is being able to generate a change that leads to well-being. One which implies progress on an emotional and personal level.

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

-Tom Peters-

A woman with the outside world reflected on her.

Times of crises are opportunities in disguise

There’s a less interesting concept in psychology: the “cost of opportunities”. This idea basically defines what it costs to achieve the desired goal when you prepare for it.

You’ll immediately understand it after looking at some examples. Many people prepare for a future and invest time, effort, and money in studying a career. However, despite it all, the opportunities are limited in the job market.

Another example is parents who invest in piano lessons for their toddler children. They figure these classes will make their children happier and might even improve their intellectual skills; thus, leading to better opportunities in the future. However, the main thing these children experience is stress.

Oftentimes, the cost of having access to certain opportunities is too high and, instead of bringing benefits, it brings unhappiness and greater difficulty making it through life. Opportunities are an elusive and complex concept, no doubt.

This is because you can’t always anticipate them. Furthermore, you can’t even recognize them because you’re not expecting them. Instead, worry, anxiety, and discouragement might be keeping you from seeing that which is conducive to change. You must take care of your psychological health to take advantage of the changes that can improve your life.

Difficulties are opportunities in disguise

How many times have you heard that opportunities are created? Modern society always tries to convince you that each person owns their destiny and creates their opportunities and that it takes effort. However, as you well know, this isn’t always the case. Furthermore, as much as you prepare and strive, opportunities are scarce, especially in times of crisis.

Perhaps this is why you must enter a new competition and learn how to identify opportunities. As philosopher and military man Sun Tzu said, you attain victory when you’re able to find opportunities in the middle of a problem. However, sometimes, the vision of the problem clouds your vision.

  • Hence, rather than exclusively obsessing about overeducating yourself and accumulating degrees, courses, and technical knowledge, you must also focus on developing certain psychological skills.
  • Proper management of emotions and daily stress are an essential survival tool.
  • Resistance to frustration and the ability to cultivate hope even in difficult times are also things to consider.
A woman looking at something.

The courage to lift your face to see beyond your suffering

Opportunities are invisible to those who see reality without an opportunistic perspective. Also, for those who are enamored with their pain and feel comfortable in the chains of an anxiety disorder. It isn’t easy to identify possibilities for change when you’re looking for them and worry instead.

However, being able to see the opportunities in disguise is the only mechanism for self-help and progress. This is because what you expect from life isn’t an open door to success or fame. No, what you really want is to be well and comfortable with who you are and with what surrounds you.

Something like this requires making an effort, looking beyond yourself to connect with what surrounds you and, then, looking with your heart, from that state of mind that dares to be flexible, creative, and intuitive. Difficult days come and go, but only you have the capacity to know how to navigate in all circumstances and move forward when you find an opportunity for progress. Think about it.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.