We all go through difficulties in life. Failure, losing your job, bankruptcy, the death of a loved one and countless other scenarios. Going through these situations is never easy. Sometimes, we just want to give up and throw our hands up in silent resignation. It’s easy to see why. These are all painful situations that hit right at our very core as human beings.
But often, when you look back, you realize that those tough times didn’t last. And they also didn’t break you. In fact, they did more for you than success or good times ever could do. There’s a reason why they say that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. It’s because, when you don’t give up and you don’t relent, you come away a stronger and more resilient person.
Here’s the truth. Life and the series of events that make up our lives, are highly subjective. Meaning, it’s easy to look at things in comparison to whatever we experienced in the past. But it’s also important to understand that for this very reason you should know that everything is subjective. We’re the ones who associate meaning to them. No one else.
What To Do When You’re Going Through Tough Times
When you’re going through tough times, it truly is heart-wrenching. You feel isolated. Alone. In the dark. And there’s often no one to turn to. Maybe you’re struggling to raise kids as a single parent or you’re in financial desperation. Whatever that struggle might be, it’s tough to go through those situations in life. Who do you talk to? Where do you turn? Often, it feels like we’re teetering on the brink of disaster.
But understand this. God will get you through it. Whether you believe in God, Allah, Buddha or the spiritual oneness that binds us all, there is a force out there and it is undeniable. That doesn’t mean you can just sit idle and hope for things to get better. Prayer mixed with massive action will bring God’s love and beauty into your life. No matter what you think or say or believe, your problems might seem big, but your God is much bigger.
At the end of the day, it truly does boil down to belief. No. Not just your belief in a higher power. Also your belief in yourself. The conversations that are running through your mind in any given moment have a huge impact on the state and quality of your life. It will send you in one direction or another.
How To Make Sure You Outlast The Tough Times In Life
I remember sitting there on Marine Drive, looking out over a breathtaking sunset. The shimmering Arabian Sea that stretched far out towards the west. And a sprawling city that lay behind me with millions of people going about their lives. None of whom knew exactly what had just happened.
I had just decided to leave the Jesuits and my life along with it. The one dream that I grew up with now over, shattered and broken. Not only was it a tough time. I felt it was surely the end of the road. I had nothing. In a state of true desperation. You would have never known it looking at me. I kept a straight face, trying to pretend to have it all together. But I was a mess. A wreck. I was in a state of true emotional and physical duress.
Sitting there, I cringed. There was this crushing weight pushing down on me from above. I ignored my problems for so long that it finally bubbled up to the brim. The serenity of that moment and that view with the sun just kissing the horizon but my life in shambles was so ironic. At that point I knew things had to change. I didn’t know how. I couldn’t even think back then. But I had to do something and do something fast.
1. Breathe & Let Go
One thing I had a hard time with was letting go of things. Not just letting go of anger and animosity. But also giving up control of what was to come. You can’t always be in the driver’s seat. Sometimes you have to have faith and trust in what’s to come. That doesn’t mean you should sit idly by and watch your life fall apart. It just means that so much of our sanity is wrapped up in having a tight grip on the outcome of our lives that it’s unhealthy.
Learn to breathe. Download a breathing app on your phone. When you’re completely stressed out and anxious, just breath. Breathe in through your nose, hold it, then let it out. And as you let that breath out of your lungs, picture all of your problems going out with it. You might think that sounds silly, but I promise you that your reality is directly tied to your thoughts and your interpretation of reality.
Sounds crazy. I know. But it’s not. I assure you this is real. Sometimes, letting go is actually the best thing that you can do. And you can do this by practicing your breathing exercises. It works. Really and truly, it does work. Try it. Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold that breath for 7 seconds. Then exhale for 8 seconds. As you breathe out, envision your problems floating away inside hot air balloons. Do this repeatedly for 5 minutes and watch as the tension melts away.
2. Do Not Sit Idle. Take Consistent Action Now.
It’s easy to sit idle as things collapse all around you. Like a sheet of glass shattering all around you into a million little pieces, you’re petrified to step in any direction. The shards of glass threaten to cut you. But I promise you that if you sit idly, it will do you absolutely no good. Get up. Right now. And take action. Massive action. Make a plan and go do that thing you need to do. Sometimes, tough times are the best thing that can happen to us.
When you go through tough times, it truly shows you your real character. It reveals what you’re made of. Because, you really do have two choices. You can set some real goals and make a plan, then take massive action. Or you can just sit around and watch things continue to crumble. When you have no choice, you kick into survival mode. But remember this. Human beings weren’t just made to survive. We were made to thrive.
In fact, we’ve been thriving for tens of thousands of years. Human civilization and technology is flourishing. In fact, we’re reaching an inflection point in time where things are changing so rapidly that it’s overwhelming. Remember to take your problems with a grain of salt. Then go out there and do what it takes to overcome any issues you might be having in your life or your business.
3. The Magic Is In The Follow-up – Never Take No For An Answer
Too many people just give up because someone told them no. Or maybe multiple people told them no. Maybe they failed a handful of times. Maybe more. But here’s the thing. When you’re going through those tough times in life, that’s when you need to double down and put in an exponential amount of effort. You can’t just lay down your arms and accept what you think fate has in store for you. No way.
The magic is in the follow-up. What do I mean? Whether we’re talking about failure or sales or anything else, the follow-up is the key. Think about this for a moment. The most famous and successful people failed the most times. Yes. Seriously. I’m not talking about just a handful of failures. I’m talking about hundreds, even thousands of failures and difficulties to get things right.
When you think about things that way, you’ll push through. You’ll persist and persevere. You won’t give up and throw in that towel. You’ll keep going and going and going. In the iconic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill recants a powerful tale. It’s the story of a man who headed west during the Gold Rush. When he arrived, he purchased a mine. At first, the mine produced gold and the man was ecstatic.
However, soon after that, the gold dried up. The vein of gold ore had disappeared. They mined and mined for months on end. And nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. So he gave up. Threw in the towel. And sold the mine to a junk trader. That junk trader hired an engineer who surveyed the land and discovered something very fascinating.
Three feet from gold…
The engineer, who was very familiar with the topography of the land and gold ore veins, predicted that Darbys were just three feet from gold where they had stopped drilling. And that’s exactly where they were. Three feet from gold! What’s my point? When they say that tough times don’t last, but tough people do, it means that those who are tenacious win. Those who don’t expect success, give up at the first sign of disappointment.
The magic is in the followup. This is true back then as much as it is now. Everything happens in the follow-up sequence. It doesn’t happen off the bat. Don’t expect to build your app in one go or do whatever right away. Be tenacious. Follow up. Keep hammering away and eventually you will sort things out. If you have to wade through some mud and dirt along the way, do it. And do it happily.
It’s the worst times in life that create our character. Those are the defining moments. Like nature’s chisel, it chips away at us until we reach a state of perfection. You might feel down and out today, but just know and understand that this is priming you for something bigger and greater. But only if you don’t relent. Only if you don’t give up.
Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”Robert H. Schuller