This concept fascinates me because it means that anyone can succeed, regardless of circumstance. While it's true that some are born with more disadvantages than others, some beat the odds and become very successful despite every prediction that says they shouldn't. What's more, your AQ (adversity quotient) is not just a matter of luck. You can learn to respond well to the icky stuff life throws at you.
One of the most important factors in dealing well with adversity is optimism. Optimists' responses when something bad happens are temporary, limited, and external. In other words, they believe their bad luck won't last, that it doesn't affect everything else, and that they themselves are not to blame. Pessimists do just the opposite. Their responses are permanent, pervasive, and personal. They think things will never change, that one problem ruins everything, and that it's all their fault.
Optimists outperform, outlast, and outlive pessimists. It's not a matter of imagining your problems away, just understanding them differently.
Here's where this research relates to women at work: Females are more likely than males to explain adversity as being their fault and a result of a permanent characteristic. So, if there's a mistake in the budget, women are more likely to say, "I'm just not very good at math" and men are more likely to say, "I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was doing."
Too many women let their attitude stand in the way of success. If you make a mistake, attributing it to a flaw in your character won't do you any favors. You can put adversity in perspective by recognizing that it's going to get better, that you have lots of other things going well, and that you can learn from your mistakes. Then see how your "luck" changes.