We are often advised to keep the good times in mind and put the bad times in the past to be forgotten. Conventional and well-intentioned wisdom holds that the bad times in our lives need to be forgotten and we should move on towards our lives’ progress.
But this way of thinking is erroneous. For the bad times, much as we may shudder to recall them again, have their own share towards our eventual good. This list puts the good, the bad and the ugly in their proper perspective.
- The bad times have made us who we are today
Were it not for the bad times that befell us, we may have remained stuck in bad decisions, destructive relationships, or purposeless lives. The bad times forced us to confront what we had been sweeping under the carpet in the past and deal with it.
- The tough times build up our resilience
Do not spend time asking “Why me?”. Instead, we should ask “Why not?”, be grateful that the outcome was not worse, and go forward with new purpose. You may fall nine times, but get up 10 or more times. Make sure you get up each and every time.
- Reverses and disaster separate the true friends from the fake ones
I hate to be the one to rain on your parade, but you and everyone else will have their share of great friends (and perhaps a soulmate or two), acquaintances and wolves in sheep’s clothing, During the good times, you may be the life of the party and the go-to guy or girl. But let the hard times hit and the phone calls dry up, the rich move away and those who enjoyed your generation are suddenly nowhere to be found.
But there will be one or two who will stand by you because they know you and believe in you. Hang on to these gems and make them your partners in your journey of recovery.
- Catastrophe forces you to turn inward for your strength and resources.
The going is always tough in a sinking ship. But those who survive the burning will always tell of how they had to turn inward to dig deep to find the courage, determination and iron will to get through the crisis.
- Tough times turn you towards the Divine
Disaster often occurs so often and the pain is great. But many success stories will tell you of how they came to the end of their tether and realised that they could not succeed if they continued to rely on themselves.
But once they realise the presence of God or the Divine, and turn their attention in that direction, they find new hope and strength to carry on.
- The tough times make you realise that your fears of the unknown are gone or reduced.
You may be feeling terrible after the most recent financial reversal. But the tough times will pass, and once they are past, your past fears and uncertainties will probably pale compared with the latest troubles.
And the lack of fear becomes the foundation of your future success.
- The tough times will not last, but the tough people will
As soon as you face the good, bad and ugly situations as they present themselves, you learn to be tough, assertive and decisive. As soon as you internalise these traits and use them to build your ladder of success, you realise that you have become tougher, stronger and better-equipped for the next big disaster.
Fear gives way to courage, despair has turned to hope and your character will be refined and strengthened so that you can subsequently face the future with humility, toughness and resolve.
- The tough times teach you about the impermanence of life and what really matters.
Bad times help us to understand what really matters, such as family, friends and love for life. Too often, we are guilty of placing our “ladders of success” against the trees of career, money and fame, only to later realsie that they were the wrong ones all along. The bad times help us focus on the important and reject the urgent.
- Bad times are often teaching moments for important life lessons
While we are going through the fire, it can be hard to understand how the flames toughened us. But the tough times are often lessons for us in life, as if God or the Divine was trying to catch our attention. So the next time you face a rough patch, shelve the instinct to whine and ask “Why me?”
Ask “What is the lesson I am supposed to from all this?” instead.
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