By: Josh Rivedal

When going through difficult times—changing majors, a breakup, a death, an ugly misunderstanding between friends, getting locked out of your IG account—it can be incredibly hard to push through. It’s much easier to give up, or bitch and moan for a month, or to blame the Universe. But none of that is going to change your circumstances and get you where you want to go in school or in life.

What (almost) no one tells you is that you can hack these difficult scenarios and hellish circumstances and make them work to your advantage.

*Spoiler alert: if you hate history, try to power through the next three (short) paragraphs so we can get to the good stuff.*

In 1940, only a few weeks after Winston Churchill took over as British Prime Minister, France was defeated by the Nazis leaving Great Britain as the only European superpower to stand and fight against the would be Nazi occupiers.

In short time London and parts of southern England were bloodied and beaten badly to a pulp from the relentless aerial bombings by the Germans.

But Churchill would not give up and wouldn’t let his countrymen give in either. His spirit, leadership, and oratory skills helped Britain find their inner strength to band together and find strategic partners who would help them beat the Germans. He’s famously quoted as saying “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

On a different scale we all have mini-hells we go through each day, week, month, and year. It could be as simple (or complicated) as a romantic relationship or home life, not getting that prized internship, or a dream not unfolding the way we envisioned. In these moments of hell it’s important that we keep going. It’s a given that we should look for encouragement from our support system but we must also ask ourselves important questions—questions that will guide us to overcoming.

What’s going well? It’s important to take stock here. When things aren’t going the greatest, sometimes it’s easy to say nothing’s going right; and it’s here that it’s easiest to drop what you’re doing and give up. Asking this question also allows us to build on the good stuff and make it grow.

What would I like to see improve? What do you actually want? Do you remember? Or has your want or endpoint morphed under the cloudy vision of disappointment? Asking this question gets us back to basics and to take a fresh look at the gears of the machine that might need a little extra oil.

Who or what can help me get where I want to go? Pretty self-explanatory. No person is an island and we all need help from someone or something to get where we need to go.

Who is doing a similar thing/has a similar goal as myself? It’s important that we see if other people have gone through what we have. By looking at the similarities we can borrow some key points from their success and use them to create our own.

Who can I help? This is a great way to remind ourselves that this journey isn’t all about us. This can be an offering of help beyond the scope of your comfort zone; or it can be a simple wake up call for you to figure out the value you offer in your own life and to the people around you.

What am I grateful for? Just a good thing to check in with. Even if it’s one thing that you’re grateful for, it’s something that’s in your life for a reason and something you’ve nurtured or attracted to yourself that is a success. Success breeds confidence and confidence is something you need to make it through that mini-hell.

Learn more about Josh Rivedal and his programs at