When times are good, people are upbeat. They think the sky’s the limit and good times will last forever. On the other hand, when times are tough, people get anxious, gloomy, and even lash out at others. They think, “Why Me?” Then, they proceed to blame the world for their circumstances. Although it’s hard to have hope when you’re in the eye of a storm, your character is shaped during those periods. While that might not be of much comfort to you, the truth is that good times build confidence. Bad times build character.
People think good times will last forever…until they don’t.
Do you take adversity in stride or think the world’s coming to an end? Do you feel sorry for yourself, take your frustration out on others, and behave totally out of character or do you live with dignity and grace? Setbacks are a way of life. There’s no way around them. But tough times reveal your true character. As T.S Eliot said, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
Bad Times Build Character
How do you act when things get tough? Do you:
- Face up to reality or raise false hopes?
- Own the problem or expect others to bail you out?
- Remain calm and levelheaded or work yourself into a funk?
- Build a solid support network or go it alone?
- Take the bull by the horns or expect the situation to get better by itself?
- Surround yourself with positive people or let folks drag you down?
- Tackle things within your control or waste time addressing the uncontrollable?
- Treat others with kindness and respect or take your frustration out on them?
- Make tough choices or freeze like a deer in headlights?
- Address high-priority items or consider everything important?
- Lend support to others in need or think only about yourself?
- Live with honor and integrity or compromise your values?
- Keep the faith or give up hope — and quit.
- Learn from the experience or repeat the mistakes of the past?
Hold Your Head Up High
There will be periods when you’ll go through tough times. It may result from ending a relationship, losing a job, suffering a financial loss, or having a health scare. Even though it might seem like the storm clouds will never disappear, they most often do. But the way that you respond to the situation will last a very long time.
Unfortunately, some people react emotionally during adversity. This causes them to behave irrationally, make bad decisions, and take their frustration out on others. That not only affects the people you care about, but it’ll impact you as well. While it’s understandable to go through the grieving process, you owe it to yourself to hold your head up high and live with dignity and grace.
Given that, will you cringe at the way that you carried yourself during those dark hours? Will you regret the way you handled yourself, the relationships you damaged, and the flawed decisions that you made? Or will you be proud of the way that you met the challenge by refusing to abandon your principles? As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” The choice is yours.
Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
How Do You Act During Tough Times?
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