3 Ways to Overcome Adversity and Transform It Into Success

Note: This post is written by Zak Khan

Imagine waking up every morning for a month and not being able to function as a normal human being because the joints throughout your body were being attacked by your immune system. Imagine going from a fit 22-year-old law student and writer to an almost bed-ridden fatigued young adult who feels like almost 95 years old.

That’s what happened to me in 2015 and it changed my entire outlook on life. This was the greatest adversity I’ve had to overcome and in doing so, I learned many valuable lessons that I wish to share with you today.

It has been over 18 months since my diagnoses of psoriatic arthritis and I have completely overcome this life-altering autoimmune disease! Not only have I regained my life back but I’ve accomplished more in the last 18 months than I have ever before.

Here are three ways I did it.

1. Look Beyond the Problem

When things fall apart, the only factor that holds a person together is hope. I like being in control of my environment and the way my life transitions from phase to phase but the unfortunate reality I faced was that everything in life is susceptible to unexpected change.

I could roll over and ‘die’ (so to say) or I could accept that I can’t control everything in life and I have to work around circumstances and situations. What I can most certainly control are the actions I take on a daily basis to redefine my future.

By developing grit and mental strength, no amount of unexpected adversities will break you down. When I could barely walk a few feet without experiencing ridiculous pain, the hope and vision of one day being able to run and drive a car again held me together.

Over time, I started to envision a version of myself who is stronger, smarter and healthier than even before falling ill. I sought many sources of inspiration and drew hope from the stories of others who overcame similar adversities in life and went on to accomplish extraordinary feats. It pushed me to try new things, make radical changes in my lifestyle and stick to good choices every single day.

Regardless of what you face right now, picture a future in which you thrive, succeed and live with pure joy.

2. Take Controlled Action

As mentioned above, life is unpredictable and things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, you may find yourself paired with circumstances that are not to your benefit. Rather than obsess over what went wrong and what you cannot do, redirect your attention and focus to actions within your control.

The joints in my hands were inflamed and damaged. It prevented me from writing and I could have easily used that as an excuse to quit my dreams of being a full-time writer and author. However, because I was fixating on a brighter future and discovered an undying belief within me that things will get better, I searched thoroughly and discovered alternate ways of writing.

For a couple of months, I used dictation software to speak my articles and books. There were many learning hurdles to overcome but I was determined to find a way to take action on my goals even in such a bad state.

In time, I adjusted and continued writing through this new approach until I recovered.

There’s always a detour route to any destination. It may not be ideal and it may take you a longer time to reach the finish line but at the end of the day, the results of your actions will determine the kind of rewards you reap.

You can accept defeat or find a solution to your problems. The latter offers a possibility for great success and happiness whereas the former guarantees failure and depression. I truly hope you make the correct decision.

3. Commit to Change and Experimentation Over Time

Taking an alternative route may seem uncomfortable and scary at first. However, it’s an undeniable truth that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Change is a necessary part of life and when you commit to finding comfort in the uncomfortable, doors of opportunity swing wide open!

You may not see many results when you try new things at first.

Often, the actions you take bring about results that are invisible. I came across the concept of ‘invisible benefits/results’ in the book called The Slight Edge. I highly recommend this read to anyone and everyone. Essentially, the cumulative effect applies to most actions taken. The results are invisible to the naked eye but accumulate over time until it creates a visible result.

If you exercise once, the likelihood of witnessing a decrease in weight or size is slim. However, if you exercise consistently for a longer period of time, the small results will add up and bring about weight loss and a reduction in fat.

Keep that in the back of your mind when trying to overcome adversity.

It may take multiple attempts to create visible results but don’t quit before you’ve given it a proper chance to manifest.

When healing from psoriatic arthritis, I adopted a holistic and lifestyle approach. I changed my entire diet, sleep and routine in hopes of healing naturally. At first, I hadn’t noticed any change in my condition but as time progressed, I felt better. Month after month, I felt stronger and less in pain. About a year into my new lifestyle, I completely healed.

From not being able to walk much to being a cross fit trainee again, that’s the kind of progress I’ve made since 2015!

I wanted to quit many times and the frustration of not experiencing drastic results quickly made me angry, but I refused to quit because this was a long term plan and I was prepared to keep trying until the results were enough to make me happy.

As of now, March 2017, I’ve never been happier!

– About the Writer –

Zak Khan is a full-time writer and author who shares his insights on productivity, self-development and writing over at Zakwrites.com

– Related Resources –


  1. This story is very touching.Thank you Zak Khan for sharing yo story.

  2. Zak,

    The Slight Edge is by far one of the most life-changing books I have ever read. I enjoyed it so much that I looked for others like it. Through my search, I stumbled upon The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Have you read it?

    It is very similar to The Slight Edge in its approach to the benefits of compounding and if you haven’t read it, you should check it out. I think that you and anybody who reads this comment would enjoy it immensely.

    Take care,


    • Joel,

      Thanks a bunch for the suggestion! I actually have read Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect and it was a spectacular read.

      When you’re conscious of compounding growth and witness it happen, there’s truly a distinct feeling of pure joy and endless hope.


  3. Wow, I have never seen a piece such as this so beautifully and uniquely articulated. I must say, Joel, your writing has never lost value. Very inspirational and doubly, excellently presented .

    Good work here. And yeah, thank you.

  4. You are an inspiration Zak!

  5. hello zak khan. I must say your piece is superb. You are really right about the change in life.
    I believe we can’t use same method or mindset and expect a different result.
    That’s why we must not resist change and not allow our fear kill our potential.
    That’s a really inspiring and encouraging truth you have come up with.
    Thumbs up zak

  6. I love your ‘never quit’attitude. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Hi, Zak!

    I liked reading your article!
    In this age of instant gratification, most people want to see results right away than to commit to what they are doing for a longer period.
    I find myself guilty of this sometimes, but the thing is we have to fall in love with the process, and not the result.
    Like right now, I’m starting out with blogging and I know that to really see results, I would need to keep putting in the work. I stopped writing for a few days and I felt empty.
    That’s when I knew I was learning to fall in love with the process already. The results are just the icing on the cake.

    Looking forward to more of your work!

    Talk soon,

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