REBT argues that at the core of emotional disturbance is a rigid, uncompromising attitude. Our rigid attitude towards adversity tends to lock our minds and emotions in a self-defeating way. We will then focus in a biased way only on the bad. We may magnify the bad and the inconvenience it has caused, dwell on past setbacks, whine about future difficulties, and be less able to see what we still can do under the present circumstances. We will be less able to find the good in the bad.
REBT encourages us to hold a flexible attitude about the adversity that has unfolded. An example of a flexible attitude would be:
"This is bad, clearly very bad but not awful or the end of the world. There is not much I can do about it but make it worse by demanding that this adversity NOT exist at this present moment. But it does! Since the adversity does exist demanding it NOT exist is absurd and self-defeating. All the conditions exist for this adversity to exist and any moment of thought denying this reality only adds self-imposed suffering to the pain imposed by the hand of fate."
This attitude will NOT make you happy. Feeling happy when an adverse event occurs is impossible. In order to feel happy or joyful when an unfortunate incident happens you would need to deceive yourself. You would need to fool yourself into believing that what has occurred is not undesirable and doing so is not adaptive. However, with a flexible, adaptive attitude the negative feelings of disappointment, displeasure, annoyance and concern which result from this attitude will not be self-defeating. These negative feelings will be appropriate and motivating. Once you have the flexible attitude in mind, you can improve your chances of holding it by beginning to attempt to find the good within the bad. Begin to try to articulate to yourself what good could come from bad if only you would flexibly redirect your mind. As you do so, you will continue to avoid a biased view which exaggerates the negative.
To further enhance this ability AFTER the adverse event you can review that list and see if you can add in retrospect any good that you initially overlooked. If you disturbed yourself by the adversity and were unable at the time it occurred to identify the good that can be derived from the bad experience you are well advised to construct that list as soon as you are able. Doing this even after the adversity has passed will help you find the good within the bad the next time something beyond your control occurs. Try it. Be sure to explicitly list to yourself or preferably write down all the good that possibly could come from the bad. By explicitly listing in your mind and ideally writing down that list, you will see that good can come from bad. Then the next time the hand of fate or another person deals you a bad hand you will quickly execute this rational maneuver and experience a profound sense of personal accomplishment that you rose to the challenge and handle the adversity well.