05/20/2010 11:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Thriving in Adversity

One of the top ten myths is that a well-lived life is problem free. Life is full of both internal and external shrapnel. Problems are unavoidable, and if you live life to avoid them, you will live a very constricted experience. The bigger the life you choose to live, the more you become a visible target. Intuition and success is about how you use the rotten apples thrown your way to make applesauce.

I remember my first book party. A popular, national gossip paper had a large photo of me and a celebrity friend of mine on the front page advertising our mythical, girl-on-girl affair. Although I was flattered they said I was a young beauty, the photo was good and we made the cover, it was also the week of trial on a custody matter, so rather "bad timing." It was a sweet photo of us, squeezed into one chair, exhausted, our heads together after the party, and the toddlers at our feet cut from the photo.

Recently I was on vacation, my last one with my eighteen year old son before he goes off to college. I had an intuition that problems were afoot, so I left instructions for no one to give me anything but good news until my return from Europe. But intuition rarely leaves us alone and on the night before the "unsettling news," I had a dream which accurately described the unfortunate event and I bellyached about the dream to my friends. Of course, everyone was honor-bound to keep me in the dark. A week later, I returned to New York to an avalanche of backlogged problems, including the usual; pay the bills, get dinner on the table, and "Ma, by the way, I have a term paper due."

Other than a few broken plates, what was the result of these challenges? It immediately galvanized my attention on a topic for my writing project, "No Biting." As I prepare to reconnect with my pre-child-24/7-life before my only son goes off to college, my friends, students and colleagues from the past to offer their love and support. Plus, it made me deal decisively with the last strands of an attachment that had ended a year and a half ago.

Researchers at the PEAR Institute at Princeton University and the SRI research at Stanford have convincingly demonstrated that precognition, or telling the future, is not only possible, but statistically probable. Why am I mentioning this? You may be holding yourself back because of difficulties you know (intuitively/subconsciously) will occur, but are unavoidable. Some of these suggestions will help you deal with the issue. However, it is also very important to structure your life so that your focus is on the enjoyment of your life, and not the many things you sense cause you difficulty. Don't make information gathering your main goal. Living is your main goal! You can implement habits that encourage this. One of my favorite pieces of advice is, "when someone tells you something alarming or unkind ask yourself why they are telling you." Often, you will find it is not for your benefit.

The adaptive, intuitive way to deal with the inevitable curveballs of life is to integrate them into moving forward in a positive, powerful way, and accept the gifts a bit of a shake up brings your way with integrity.

"The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable." - Sun Tzu.

Although trained intuition often gives us warning that a problem is going to occur, some problems are unavoidable. So, remember the Boy Scout's single, powerful piece of advice: Be prepared.

Here are some effective techniques to create from chaos for both individuals and companies:
1. Make it a practice of to know your values and stick to them. Notice when you are outside of your integrity and take actions toward change.
2. Know your goals and keep your attention on them, no matter what the current distraction or crisis may be.
3. Delegate responsibility and allow your delegates to do their job.
4. Maintain awareness of your community. You are part of an organism and what affects you, affects everyone around you. Practice mutual support and allow crisis to be times of special generosity with your team. This will refine your emergency plan for life's next inevitable curve ball.
5. Get wise counsel. Chances are your community has seen everything at least twice from hand tinderboxes to fire specialists!
6. Get rid of as much "fluff" around the problem as possible, and make it into a single target or issue.
7. Simplify the rest of your life to accommodate the increased demands of an effective response.
8. Since things are often not as they appear, allow intuition or out-of-the-blue perception to offer you the real issue and response in time. Entertain even the most seemingly unrelated possibilities and investigate them.
9. Contain the "spill." Often when problems occur, it is a natural response to get as many people involved as quickly as possible. Know those you trust and resist the urge to make a problem bigger than it is in your effort to respond.
10. Use your intuition properly by having good mental boundaries. Make sure your voice and the voice of reason/intuition are the dominant voices in your head. Do not let the "problem" have a continuing dialog with you. It dissipates your intuition, energy and judgment.

Life has its share of ups and downs. By managing your energy and responses properly you can use both to create strong, integral structures in your life and company.

Laura Day is the New York Times best selling author of PRACTICAL INTUITION and HOW TO RULE THE WORLD FROM YOUR COUCH. The Independent called her "The Psychic of Wall Street." Laura has been featured on Oprah, CNN, Good Morning America, ABC News in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal and other national and international media. She is currently working on her new book, NO BITING.