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Good times ahead, or Hard times ahead? Does it matter?

I'm not one to delve much into current events, but I do get a few daily emails with a lot of the major headlines and press releases. My work doesn't require extensive knowledge of current events, and maybe I should have more awareness of what is going in the world; however, most of it is something I have little to no control over so I don't spend too much time thinking or pondering it. If a headline continually makes it's way to the top, then generally I start to pay more attention. Recently, I've seen more talks of the 'inevitable recession' or what the next crash looks like. What does the future hold? In sales, we always taught to answer a question with another question. Maybe the question should be 'Does it really matter?' We each need to stay on our own individual course. Good times are fun and easy, but we don't tend to learn or grow much. Hard times are not always fun and take a lot of our energy, but we learn a lot and we grow in one (or multiple) areas of our life. So regardless of where we are headed, we each need to remember these key principles:

Good times only last for a time, similar with hard times. It's up to us to make the most of which one we are in

It may seem like a challenging time that is will never end, but it will eventually. Life moves in seasons and seasons change. If you’re seeking wise counsel, acting with self-discipline, and remaining faithful to your family, friends, and coworkers, your situation will improve. In 2008, I remember being at the beginning of my insurance career when the stock market crashed. We continually told ourselves and agents 'Things are never as good as they seem or as bad as they seem.' Not everyone is in a bad situation, and not everyone is always in a good situation, and it's up to us to use our experience and perspective to ascertain which one applies to each situation. My business continued on and people kept buying insurance despite the world seemingly crashing down. When we are in good times, it's important to stay humble, have gratitude, and make sure to appreciate it each moment you can.

Tough times build character. In good times, we have to make sure to stay sharp

Struggles usually build endurance, grit, and determination. Almost every one of us has a story where something started really really challenging but we kept going and that 'something' became what we are most proud of today. They also give us a deeper sense of empathy. Your integrity can also grow stronger when you stay honest and maintain moral values while being pressured to abandon them. And if moral failure is your challenge right now, this is your opportunity to rebuild. In good times, we have to continually put ourselves in challenging situations through being active, investing in our bodies and our minds, and developing a healthy habitat of people around you.

Great triumphs involve great adversity. The best part of any struggle is coming out the other side. In good times, we have to push ourselves to think bigger

Challenging circumstances can make our stories better. Every great story involves some kind of suffering, low point, or struggle to overcome. You may look back at this moment many years from now and be grateful for it. There may be more difficult times coming that will cause you to look back and remember your triumph now. Or perhaps what you’ll remember is that you made it—and that you can make it again. “The longer it takes to receive something good, the more we cherish it.” When times are good, we need to expand our vision of what we think is possible in our lives. We have to feed the growth and make it sustainable for as long as we can.

Hard times build our appreciation for what is good.

When good things come easily, we can take them for granted. The longer it takes to receive something good, the more we cherish it. In good times, we need to remember to give back and help others. We have to remember and appreciate the good fortune in our own lives and give back to others as much as we can. This in turn will cause extreme happiness and satisfaction in your life. When you keep giving back despite when times get hard, I imagine you experience even greater happiness and fulfillment.

In good times, your passion can turn into passivity. In hard times, it forces you to find your 'why' and your purpose

There was once a time when you were super passionate about some important things in your life that have now fallen by the wayside. It might be your family, your health, or your reputation. At some point in the past, you may have cared more about investing in those things than you do right now. You were once passionate about being the best dad, about maintaining your health for the sake of your family and your future, and about protecting your good name. But somewhere along the way, passion came face to face with passivity, and the latter won. Your best dad priorities took a back seat to work or complacency. You started to risk your health due to a lack of discipline. And somewhere along the way, you started justifying unwise decisions by telling yourself it doesn’t matter what others think of you. If you’ve found yourself lacking in passion lately, that is normal. Every man does from time to time. It’s just not okay to stay there. It’s never too late to change course to ensure that you’re growing up instead of just growing old. In hard times, we have to look ourselves in the mirror, figure out why we are doing what we are doing, and align all of our energies into our purpose.

In good times, our comfort can turn into complacency. In hard times, we have to be resourceful.

“A good way to grow up instead of growing old is to get out of your comfort zone.” You may think your biggest and best days are behind you. You are comfortable with your past accomplishments. You think you’ve learned enough, or everything you need to learn. So you feel fine with coasting through. But the truth is you’re never too old to better yourself. And you are never just standing still in your growth as an individual. Every man is either moving forward or backward. Healthy water is always moving. It’s when water becomes stagnant that it starts to get stale and become unhealthy. The same is true of you. Comfort is nice, but it can be detrimental if it keeps you from moving forward. How can you continue growing yourself? Maybe there’s a book you need to read—or a book you need to write. Maybe there’s an unfinished goal you need to pick back up and complete. Maybe there’s some weight you need to lose or some priorities you need to put back in order. You’ve settled into a comfort zone for too long and complacency is knocking on your door. A good way to grow up instead of growing old is to get out of your comfort zone. In hard times, we have to utilize the resources around us to make the best of any situation. Like MacGyver. It helps us streamline our processes and figure out which skills and tools we actually need in order to survive. So the next time you read the headlines and it scares you a bit into fearing the unknown of what is to come, just smile and say 'It doesn't matter. I'm going to stay the course, keep doing me, and adapt and thrive!"

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