Will Hard Times Ruin or Improve You?

Just two months ago I lost my balance and felt gravity suck me onto the pavement below with the force of a vacuum cleaner on steroids. 

Yeah, it hurt. 

Tribulation is sure to come in this life. We’re candidates by just getting out of bed. If you drive to work, someone could be texting behind the wheel of their car and slam into yours in a split second. A chance conversation could lead to a fistfight. Your biggest client might have poured sour milk into his coffee and then decided to take out the bitterness of that experience by firing you. 

Whatever form it takes, tribulation has a way of interrupting our comfortable routines. If you’re a go-getter, it can stem the flow of progress like a kink in your water hose can keep your flowers parched. If you are more laid back, hard times feel like a broken air conditioner in a humid Florida summer. 

Pain is a punch in the face of a carefree life.

When you’re injured and immobilized, you have time on your hands that you otherwise wouldn’t have. The outcome depends on what you do while you’re stuck. Will you let it ruin you? Or will you take the time to reflect and think deeply about the details of your life? 

We make the choice about what to think about when bad times derail us. 

We can make it a time to cry, “Woe is me.” Worst case scenarios can become reality if we stay there. Focus on the bad and we set ourselves up for more hard times. 

The alternative is to think about the good. Be thankful for what didn’t happen that could have. If you lost your arm to the elbow, be grateful it wasn’t to the shoulder. Focus on what you still have, not what you’ve lost.

Before you make your choice about how to spend your down time, let me offer a third suggestion.

If you want to get better, think through your fears and your hopes. Then you can move into the next chapter of your life with more confidence, perseverance, and hope. 

Here’s why the balanced approach is best. 

First, when we define our fears we can more effectively deal with them. Unless you know what you’re scared of and why, how can you be braver in the future? Specificity is your friend here. Be brutally honest to find the raw courage you need.

Second, when we are armed to win, our hopes become sun rays instead of the faint flickers of a dying fire. It’s great to have hopes and dreams. But if you want them to come true, you got to deal with the possibilities as well as the challenges. To omit either is to smother the flames.

Hard times don’t have to be the end of your life. They could be that dark tunnel you go through before the next light of day dawns on your eager eyes. 

Are you willing to make the journey? 

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I’m a Writing Coach, a Promotion Strategist, and an Entrepreneur. I help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. I design non-sleazy promotion plans for artists, writers, and other creatives. When I’m not writing, I love coffee and conversation.