How To Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons

How to make lemonade when life gives you lemons

You’ve all heard the expression when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It’s a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.  Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life. Making lemonade can turn the whole sour episode into something sweet, positive, and much more desirable.

Make lemonade when life gives you lemons

In life, there are no problems, there are only situations. Every problem is a problem only because you call it so.


Life consistently throws new challenges at us, and we constantly face situations that we may not necessarily know how to handle. It is a common view that one has to think positively all the time because our thoughts dictate our outcome. But staying happy and upbeat when life is giving you a beating can be tricky. The key is to develop enough emotional agility to see those situations as a challenge, an opportunity to learn, and to develop greater resilience.

How to make lemonade from lemons

Turning lemons into lemonade is not too much of a stretch. Just press the lemons into a jar, add some sugar and water, et voila! You have lemonade.  Stretching this analogy into the real world, it is perfectly possible to make the best of a negative situation by concentrating on makes it less sour. This means putting a problem into perspective, taking any small steps you can to take back control, and managing your emotional reaction to it.

There are no problems only solutions

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

How to stay optimistic

There is something you can learn from pretty much every circumstance you encounter. When one faces a problem, thinking of it as a challenge that is strengthening you, making you stronger, wiser, better. One of the biggest issues nowadays is living with uncertainty. Nothing is certain anymore.  This year has taught us that we should take nothing for granted. Things can change very suddenly and unexpectedly. Dealing with uncertainty is pretty damn difficult; everyone wants a clear path to follow, clear solutions to their problems, but life doesn’t work that way.

Uncertainty is the very condition that impels man to unfold his powers. As we navigate our own uncertain times together, may a thousand flowers of sanity bloom, each valid so long as it is viable in anchoring the human spirit it animates. And may we remember the myriad terrors and uncertainties preceding our own, which have served as unexpected awakenings from some of our most perilous civilization slumbers.”

Erich Fromm

When life gives you lemons, don’t stop at lemonade!

If you are feeling more adventurous, you don’t have to stop at lemonade. When life gives you lemons go lemon crazy!

Often, our circumstances are dictated and influenced by what people tell us is realistic or feasible. Life gave me lemons, but right now, I’m not in the mood to make lemonade. Instead of making lemonade, I could use the seeds and grow a whole orchard of lemon trees. Then, instead of having a few pots of lemonade, I could have lorry-loads of lemons.  Not a bad way to use lemons, right?

Now I’m thinking; if I want oranges instead of lemons, how can I turn lemons into oranges? The answer, lemon-alchemy!

When life gives you lemons don’t make lemonade, become a lemon alchemist!

When one mentions the term alchemist, we may imagine an old bearded man, like Merlin (the greatest wizard of all), trying to turn lead into gold. But in contemporary society, alchemy is a term used to describe the ability that people have to manifest personal change, an ability we all possess.

Inner alchemy provides the means to understand ourselves better, the universe we live in, and our purpose in life. To achieve that, one has to let go of the old you and make room for the new.  Think of your negative thoughts, old beliefs, and habits as lead.  Your mission as an alchemist is to turn that lead into gold, the new you. The happy, healthy, and emotionally balanced new you.

Moral of the story

With any given problem, there is rarely only one solution. There is often a myriad of ways to make things work. Being creative, having a sense of adventure, going off-piste, or taking the road less travelled may be the sugar that makes the problem sweeter.

You can make it up as you go along.  Make your own rules if given the opportunity. Why do you have to conform to someone else standards if you are out in the wild? My friend Catherine Germier (founder of Herost, an online platform, and network dedicated to the promotion of sustainable travel experiences ) says it best:

“When you reach a certain age and a certain height, you realize that you don’t need to choose between anything and its contrary. You can be everything you want, and you can also match pink and red. That is the beauty of being mature and yet young at heart. Be an explorer take the path less traveled.”

Catherine Germier

Talking about explorers, if you want to go on an epic journey following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers and adventurers, you should check out his video and follow me on the paths less travelled by.

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11 replies on “How To Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons”

This is really a great post! 😍

Hi Joane, I just notice your comment in my post after a year – my apologies for that.

Love this post truly & this is very true. Very inspiring & motivating. To be an alchemist is to know the balance of life. Love your ideas & reading this post too. Thank you.

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