It’s likely that you’ll come across many problems in life that have no realistic solution. Maybe your boss is a jerk who lacks basic leadership skills. Maybe your project is doomed due to an upper management oversight that’s beyond your control. Maybe your country is going through some difficult changes that are affecting you and those around you.

Since we feel powerless in these situations, our natural tendency is to take control of what little we can—we get angry, resentful, and maybe even lash out at others.

Instead, I offer an alternative, and that is to learn from everything.

Learn from every difficult situation that’s beyond your control. If your boss sucks, study him or her closely to see where you can do things differently when you get an opportunity to lead. If your project is doomed, learn why it’s doomed so you can communicate those red flags next time you foresee a project going down in flames. If your country is in peril, learn from the circumstances that led to that outcome, and work to inform others of how to guard against another such outcome in the future.

You’re not as powerless as you think. Your greatest asset is the ability to observe, reason, and learn when you’re up against the wall. From there, you can take those lessons to make a better future for yourself and those around you.