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How to be captain cool in a crisis: Use criticism as fuel, accept your mistake

For those in a position of power, how you respond to a difficult situation is scrutinised intensely. Use these tips to stand firm.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 15, 2019, 08.15 AM IST
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Whether you’re facing rejection, competition, a small setback or a serious life challenge, it can be helpful to have a few coping strategies on hand. (Representative image)
A personal or professional crisis can hit anyone at any time. Yet, most of us struggle to cope with tough times. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to surviving them, it can be helpful to have a few coping strategies on hand.

Whether you’re facing rejection, competition, a small setback or a serious life challenge, here are a few ways you can navigate a rough patch:

Use criticism as fuel
Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev arrived at this year’s US Open as the men’s player of the summer. But all that goodwill was quickly washed away after Medvedev was caught snatching a towel out of a ball person’s hands, tossing his racquet toward the centre of the court and thrusting his middle finger at his detractors.

Daniil Medvedev didn’t let the booing crowd get to him at this year’s US Open. (In pic: Medvedev at ATP Finals​)​
Daniil Medvedev didn’t let the booing crowd get to him at this year’s US Open. (In pic: Medvedev at ATP Finals)

Angered at the display, the crowd booed at him for nearly two hours straight while he battled Feliciano Lopez. But he didn’t let the negativity break his focus. After beating his competitor, Medvedev thanked the crowd for their ‘support’. “I want all of you to know, when you go to sleep at night, I won because of you,” he said.

“All the energy you’re giving me right now, I want you to know, it will give me energy for my next five matches. The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys.”

Pick a daily affirmation
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton may have won his sixth Formula One title with two races to spare, but it hasn’t been an easy ride. The driver, who lost friend and mentor Niki Lauda in May, struggled to stay focused outside of the car. “I didn’t think it [losing Niki] was going to hit me as hard as it did. That was a tough pivot point for us,” he said.

Lewis Hamilton keeps his spirits up by relying on daily affirmations
Lewis Hamilton keeps his spirits up by relying on daily affirmations.

To keep his spirits up, Hamilton would rely on daily affirmations. “I would look in the mirror and say ‘yes you can do it. Yes, you are great. Yes, you can be fit if you go and put that time in. Yes, you can win this race if you do the right steps and continue to believe in yourself’,” he shared recently. “There’s always that darker side that’s always trying to pull you down and I guess only other athletes who are at the top of their game can probably relate to it.”

Set clear boundaries
Having grown up surrounded by cameras, Prince Harry is no stranger to how invasive the media can be. But the Royal is now pushing back. Last month, Harry and Meghan sued a British tabloid for selectively editing and publishing a private letter from the Duchess to her father.

“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he wrote in a powerful statement published on the couple’s website. “I lost my mother [Princess Diana] and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces… To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.”

Own up to your mistakes
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s re-election campaign was marred by murky environmental policies, lingering criticism of his handling of a major corruption inquiry, and the emergence of photos that showed him wearing brownface on three separate occasions. With this kind of bad press, Trudeau’s reputation as a progressive leader was greatly undermined.

Trudeau apologised to voters on multiple occasions and clarified his stance wherever possible. Over his brownface scandal, he said, ‘“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.”.
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