Do You Have What It Takes to Handle Tough Times?

Many of us are going through tough times right now- stress of school, being alone, loss of a loved one, depression, too much on their plate, cutting teeth- doesn’t matter what it looks like- it happens to everyone. Some stress and grief are tougher than others and time is needed to heal. I found an article that might help us make it through those tough times or make the journey easier until time mends our hearts.

Nine characteristics of people who do well in tough times-
“Have you ever noticed that some people confront tough times head-on and continue to pursue their goals? They won’t quit. Quitting is not an option for them. They get up every morning, lick their wounds, dress for battle and fight the good fight. These tough timers share common denominators that serve as a benchmark for the rest of us.”

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all other qualities.” Everything else emanates from your willingness to face adversity head-on. Someone once defined courage as “fear that has said its prayers.” Ernest Hemmingway defined courage as “grace under pressure.”

Limited focus.
When tough timers face adversity, they limit the reach and the scope of the problem. They do not generalize the event so that it consumes their entire lives. They focus on the immediate impact area of the adversity. Imagine the impact of letting adversity run amuck in your mind. The problem rages, as an out-of-control forest fire, leaving thousands of acres of mental ashes. You cannot focus on the solution because the problem is far-reaching. Compartmentalizing the adversity helps tough times focus narrowly on a workable solution.

Perceived control.
Tough timers view adversity from a position of control. They understand life in terms of control. They understand life in terms of things they control and things they cannot control. This paradoxical blend of seizing and yielding builds their confidence for dealing with tough times. They view tough circumstances and ask themselves, “What can I control in this situation?” They may discover that the only thing they can control is their own reaction to the situation.

Problem ownership.
Tough timers feel responsible for taking action regardless of the cause of the adversity or whose problem it is. In a street-smart way, they feel they can make a difference with their input. This is not a neurotic feeling of unbridled accountability for all of the misery in the world. I’m referring to someone who confronts adversity head-on and says to him or herself, “I can do something about this.” They would rather fix the problem than fix the blame. They prefer to take action instead of taking cover.

Tough timers always see a way out of difficulty. Creativity is fundamental to resilience and persistence. To become more creative you must learn how to think out of the box. Approach the problem differently. Trust your creativity. Encourage your creativity.

Tough timers persist until they win. They know nothing great was ever accomplished by a quitter. They know, at a gut-level, there is a time limit on tough times. Every downturn in our economy was followed by a period of expansion. Every missed sale is followed by a sale that you make at some point. Knowing that misery will not last fuels tough timers with the hope they need to get up another day and fight the battle.

Tough timers are positive thinkers, but their optimism cuts deeper than happy thoughts. They draw from a wellspring of confidence and hope. Because of their sense of control and creativity, tough timers look at the future through the eyes of an optimist. This is a bone-deep belief in their right and ability to live a positive life. This belief gains traction in positive behaviors. They behave as they believe, and their behavior reinforces their positive beliefs.

Humor is one of the best anecdotes for being down in the dumps. In addition to the obvious benefit of laughter, there is a physiological advantage when your brain releases endorphins during laughter. Humor allows you to see another side of adversity. Plato wrote, “Even the gods love jokes.”

Support group.
John Donne, a 17th century English poet and cleric wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main …” Who is as strong individually as we are collectively? No one. You may be able to do it on your own, but why?”


  1. La said:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the prayer/God concept. A friend (Catholic) who talked to me reminded me of a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi, adapted into what is commonly know, in A.A., as The Serenity Prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    October 4, 2004
  2. Erin said:

    Tough times are amongst us all and we all have to find a way to deal with something we don’t want to face at some point, but when we do we get stronger. We learn from those times and it never gets easier, but we have our family there and lots of love that can help get us through. Trust in your family and God and you can make it through. I love you all!

    October 4, 2004

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