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We all know that life is a series of challenges and opportunities. Our days are filled with joy and sorrow, excitement and pain, love and loss. There are times when we feel on top of the world and others when we feel we’ve hit our rock-bottom.

Emotions can be a funny thing. We can feel the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a matter of minutes. What I have come to realize in my life is that it’s all about perspective. It’s naïve to believe that we won’t have bad days or challenging moments. We will lose people we love, we will experience sadness, failure, and defeat. All of the positive mental attitude and mindset work in the world will not completely eliminate difficult times in our lives. However, the key, I have found, is perspective. When we develop our mind to the point where we choose to view the things that happen to us with the lens of seeking the benefit, the upside, or the lesson to be learned, it can shift not only that moment but our future. A loss can become gain, sadness can become a sweet memory, failure can become a lesson learned and a defeat can become a launching point to greatness.

When I was in my early 20s I had a mentor who told me that if I was going to be a participant, and ride the roller coaster of life, that I should always remember one thing he said, “throw your hands up on the way down! It’s much more fun that way!”

That simple visual has carried me through some of the most difficult and dark times in my life. It helped me realize that oftentimes I am not able to control a situation, a person’s behavior or an outcome, and that’s okay. I may not be able to change every circumstance to produce the desired outcome I would most like, but I do have a choice on how I view that situation and most importantly how I react, or respond, to it.

So the next time you feel like you, too, are on that wild roller coaster of life remember it’s the ups and downs that make it a ride! It’s the ups and downs that teach us, that push us and that help us grow. Roller coasters, much like life, can be scary and exhilarating simultaneously. And while we may be a little nervous for the inevitable flips and dips, a flat roller coaster would be quite boring. When the tough times come, and they will come, simply remember to throw your hands up! This is life.