Life can be unreasonably challenging at times. Without warning, your car breaks down. You were saving up to change the tires, now it’s the plugs and the battery that needs replacement; very soon you may have to change the engine. Just before the car issue came up, you were thinking about your son’s poor performance at school. Your wife has not been herself lately; she slips in and out of moods like a stage actress changing costume. And your finances? Maybe that’s the real issue. If you had more money, you’ll take your son to a better school. Your wife will be happier most of the time and at least, you’ll buy a proper “Tokunbo” and deliver yourself from this contraption you call a car. And for the umpteenth time, you ask yourself “How am I supposed to keep pursuing my dreams, in spite of all these challenges?”
Now that’s a great question to ask. You’ve probably heard it said that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”; what you need to know is what makes the ‘tough’ tough, and how they handle challenges. Here’s what I have discovered:
TOUGH PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW LIFE WORKS
They know that life is a continuous cycle of positives and negatives. Tough people know that tough times are never forever. You won’t always be broke, jobless, or disadvantaged. Somewhere along the line, things will change for the better. This is what you should always say to yourself: “If I don’t quit, I will win”.
Tough people know that good times don’t last forever. So they maximize their good times; they save and invest. Most people suffer in life, not because of the severity of bad times, but because they fail to maximize their good times. By saving 20% of their resources in good times, Egypt, under the leadership of Joseph, survived 7 years of scarcity; and in the same period, became a thriving economy. That’s what tough people do.
TOUGH PEOPLE MAKE THE MOST OF ADVERSITY
They know that Opportunities and challenges are the two sides of the coin of life; you can’t have one without the other. To every opportunity there are challenges, and to every challenge there are opportunities. Tough people look for opportunities in their challenges and exploit them to their advantage.
TOUGH PEOPLE DON’T JUST WANT TO SURVIVE, THEY WANT TO SUCCEED
Tough times call for flexibility. Tough people adapt to changing circumstances in order to survive. If you insist on maintaining the status quo in tough times, you’ll soon be history. If you must survive, you must be willing to review your lifestyle in the light of prevailing circumstances. But you have to be careful; survival can be a trap. It is only useful in the short term. When you get lost in survival mode, and then turn your survival strategies into a lifestyle; you run the risk of losing your true identity. Being broke is not the same as being poor. Never mistake tiredness for weakness. When you can’t tell the difference, you’ll ask to die when all you need is sleep.
Survival for tough people is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. They want to stay alive to fulfill their dreams. Here’s the truth: If the dream within you is not stronger than the situation around you, you are likely to give up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going in the direction of their dreams; and when the storm is over, they wouldn’t have just survived; they would have succeeded.
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