You can’t see around the bend. For that reason, the only way to predict the future is to study the past or extrapolate what we know to be true today. But what if revolutionary changes occur or external events blindside you? The fact is, when times are good, you think they’ll continue forever. But statistically speaking, good times don’t last forever.
People think good times will last forever…until they don’t.
When was the last time you found yourself saying, “No one’s going to knock us out of first place. My job’s totally secure.” Or, “My health is always good.” How would you feel if one of those scenarios changed tomorrow? The truth is, there are things you can do to prepare for that eventuality — and you should. But you’ll never truly know what it’s like to face a personal setback, or how you’ll actually respond, until you face tough times.
Let the Good Times Roll, But Be Smart About It
There may be very little you can do to prevent tough times, but you can control the way you respond to them. Give it some thought before it happens. It’s easier to be rational when you’re not emotional. Here are eight guideposts to help you prepare for hard times:
Be realistic. Don’t become complacent by believing that good times will last forever.
Be practical. Problems are best addressed before they arise. Don’t wait for a fire to locate the exits.
Be positive. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
Be proactive. Think about what you’d do if you were faced with tough times. For example, take steps to remain healthy, reduce overhead costs, and expand your social network.
Be cautious. Hedge your bets to protect your downside. If you place all your eggs in one basket, any fall will be a messy one.
Be humble. Remain grounded. Don’t let success go to your head. Achieving success is hard; staying successful is even harder.
Be accountable. Own the problem. Don’t waste precious time and energy making excuses or casting blame. Move forward rather than dwelling in the past.
Be determined. As Richard M. Nixon said, “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”
Have You Ever Been Tested?
It’s easy to feel invincible when times are good, but don’t get pompous and lazy, and forget all the hard work that made you successful. In short, you can get lulled into a false sense of security and may even start taking things for granted. But then when reality hits, you’re grossly unprepared for the situation that befalls you.
It’s easier to maintain momentum than to rebuild it once it’s lost.
This won’t happen to you, you say? Life is long. The possibility of facing a setback one day is inevitable — so be forewarned. There will be times when you can push through a temporary setback, while other times you’ll have to live with the cards that were dealt to you. The key is that exceptional people don’t shun tests of their strength and determination — they relish them.
Challenges are not the measure of their greatness, but rather the pathway to it.
Some people quit — and throw in the towel. Others reach deep down into their soul and rise to the occasion. In any case, your true character will become clear when times get tough. And how you choose to respond to the challenge will say volumes about who you really are. Do you get frustrated and complain, “Why me?” — or do you face the setback head-on with grace? Do you take your frustration out on the people around you or do you view them as a pillar of strength and great comfort? Do you view your setback as an opportunity to learn or are you too pigheaded to adjust your ways in the future?
When you are tested — and prove you can rise to the occasion — you’ll be able to wear your response as a badge of honor. You can take great pride knowing that your backbone was tested and that you came through it with flying colors. Let the good times roll.
Are You Prepared for Tough Times?
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