Some people are born survivors. When confronted with a challenge, these are the kinds of people that can quickly grasp reality and look for tangible solutions to get out of their predicaments. Take the example of Aron Ralston, the hiker who found himself trapped by a boulder whilst canyoneering in Utah in 2003. While many would have languished (and possibly died), Aron took drastic action by cutting his own arm off with a knife to free himself. In so doing, he lived to tell the tale.
At the other end of the extreme are people who seem incapable of confronting reality. My friend Pete, for instance, wasted a great deal of effort once trying to get himself a seat on a plane. He simply couldn't accept the fact that the flight was full and after 20 minute yelling at the airline company still had to settle for a later flight.
More recently, a work colleague has been trying to grapple with the reality of his employment situation. The guy's been on a one year contract and our employer has always been upfront about the nature of the fixed term position right from the beginning. Now that the contract is about to come to an end, my colleague is getting increasingly bitter. He can't seem to understand why his contract is not being renewed. I can see that this will not end well. The more he tries to hold onto an outcome that simply won't eventuate, the less time he is leaving himself to exploring alternative solutions to his employment situation. My colleague is unable to come to grips with his reality and to take the action necessary to free himself.