Jim Collins coined this the “Stockdale Paradox”, named after Admiral James Stockdale who was a United States Military Officer who was held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War; Stockdale was also tortured more than twenty times by his captors, had no prisoner’s rights, no release date, and no idea of whether he would survive to see his family again.
During his time in captivity, Stockdale was fully aware of his dire circumstances and did everything he could to improve his chances of survival. The most impressive factor in this situation is Stockdale’s mind-set, he never loses faith about survival, yet the one key and vital aspect he keeps is his reality.
He is truthful with himself, he does not set dates on rescue or anything like that, but instead he realized the situation he was in, while being honest with the fact that his current situation was horrible and uncertain.
For me, the Stockdale Paradox carries an important lesson in personal development, a lesson in faith and honesty: Never doubt that you can achieve your goals. But at the same time, always take honest stock of your current situation.
In the end you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond, and if you carefully think through the problem, are optimistic that you will make it through, and then that’s the best possible way to deal with obstacles, big or small.
Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be and at the same time retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. That is Redha and Tawakal concept in Islam.
This concept was clear in the Quran and stories of history. When a person is afflicted with trials and tragedy, not only the person effort and patience but he/she also prayers towards God that will be the faith for survival.