When the going is good in life, we tend to have this feeling of invincibility. Nothing can stop me! Then, reality hits: that feeling never lasts forever. Tough times strike. Hardship comes into our lives. We begin to struggle and suddenly, it’s a lot more difficult to move forward.
This is why any short or long-term strategy for life should revolve around a set of core values that help position us for any external conditions. Tough times will come and go. Tough people last. Tough people — ones who can weather any storm — always have a strong core value structure.
Values give definition, clarity, and foundation that provide us with a game plan — a strategy for how to succeed, find happiness, and navigate life’s peaks and valleys. We tend to handle the good times in life, just fine. When we’re in our “zone,” we keep accumulating the good things — sort of like a real-world version of Nintendo Mario on his “magic star” stroll.
The bad times come and sometimes linger. A death in the family. The loss of a job. Failure in a personal endeavor. Far too often, we run away from these circumstances — mentally and emotionally. We bury our heads in our smartphones, pray for metaphorical rain, and hope that while we’re getting soaked, eventually, the storm will blow over. When we’re “ready.”
Let me dispense some wisdom I hope will help you through your tough time:
Embrace the tough times. When you do, you place value on how you can learn from suffering and come back stronger. You’ll master one of life’s most valuable skills. As you go along, you may find that in order to improve, you need not always try harder, but rather to think and work smarter.
I’ve listed five values that have helped me immensely as I’ve faced adversity and sought happiness in my life.
“If you don’t fall, how are you going to know what getting up is like?” — Steph Curry
We’re best positioned to place faith both in ourselves and in something greater than ourselves. For me, that “something” is God. We cannot control every outcome in life. The more we try, the more we come to this realization. Eventually, we have to give-in to trusting that things will work out.
The story of how Stephen Curry became one of the best players in the NBA is at its heart, a story of faith. Curry was lightly recruited out of high school. Small Davidson College, local to his Charlotte upbringing, decided to take a chance on him. Boy, did it pay off. Curry became a superstar in college and attracted the attention of NBA executives.
But still, many doubted. They continued to doubt even after Curry became the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Too short. Not strong enough. Curry turned to his faith to outlast the critics and surpass anyone’s expectations. Through all his personal and professional trials, Curry’s faith has made him one of the best players in the world. And one the strongest, most confident people.
“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins- not through strength but by perseverance.” ~ H. Jackson Brown
No challenge is too tough for the person who is resolute in mind and spirit. A great example of this is a young woman I recently had the pleasure of meeting who was involved in a motorcycle accident. She could have kept blaming everyone and everything for why she is now a paraplegic. And in the beginning, she was angry. Frustrated. Bitter. Resentful.
But then, she dug in. She realized she had a whole life ahead of her. Now? She’s on her way to continuing her pursuit of becoming a medical doctor. She’s found light, not darkness, by embracing adversity. We all have a choice in life. We can give up or keep going. We always have a choice. No one will ever take that way from us. Keep going.
Integrity is all about staying true to yourself. In the aftermath of a major life difficulty, whether it be a car accident or loss of a job, the worst thing you can do is start blaming yourself. It’s best to turn inward to your core values — to the inner DNA of the true self that’s guided you through good and bad times before.
Adversity challenges our emotional intelligence. It makes us start doubting, fretting, and thinking we’re not capable. It’s precisely in these moments that values like integrity serve as our backbone, reminding us that we’re bold, strong, and full of character. When you live a life of integrity, you find happiness in all of life’s moments.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison
Know what you can control and understand what is best left to faith. Discipline is the decision-making mechanism that guides us throughout our lives. Willpower is what comes from a life well-lived. An earned way of thinking, doing, and being by repetition and adherence to a belief system that has universally accepted morals and values.
When Thomas Edison was confronted with failure in his inventions, he didn’t give up. There’s a reason why we know his name today and appreciate him as one of the world’s great inventors. He kept going. He had the discipline, faith, and perseverance necessary to keep striving toward something new. The same can be said for Elon Musk. He has the core discipline to believe in what he’s doing and doesn’t let setbacks or disappointments discourage him.
Always prepare and take the time to confront any adversity with a winner’s mindset. If you’re operating with positive conviction and belief in yourself, you’re more than halfway there. In fact, you’re far ahead of the pack.
“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” — Simone Biles
What’s fire, you ask? Fire is enthusiasm. It’s unbridled passion and excitement for living your life on your terms. Fire is named as such because it lights the first inside of us and wills us to carry on toward our goals and dreams. I watched this past summer as Simone Biles, an extremely talented and passionate gymnast, one four gold medals and one bronze at the Olympic Games.
I noticed in every interview, each competition and how she celebrated with her teammates, Simone Biles is a woman who lives with fire and incredible passion for what she does. She was so determined to succeed and she worked so hard. But all of those mental and physical actions were fueled by her positive emotions! It was led by fire, her enthusiasm, which took her to the top.
Values are the foundation you should build your life on. They will bring you happiness as life changes around you. Follow these five values and you will live the life you want.
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Originally published on Ladders.
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