How do you handle challenging and trying times? When the workload is high, and everything seems uphill, do you lean in, buckle down, and raise your game? Or do you get stressed, maybe develop a bad attitude, and look for a way out? Challenging times affect us all a bit differently, but they don’t have to, especially if you take to heart the philosophy of legendary speaker and teacher Jim Rohn. Mr. Rohn said, “Don’t wish things were easier; wish you were better.”
Character is Not Made in Trying Times
Character is not made in trying times; it is revealed. What Jim Rohn was getting at is that everything is hard from time to time, and when it is, that is an invitation for us to raise our game, grow and get better. When things get tough, the real you rises to the surface. If you want to change how you handle tough and trying times, consider looking into these areas of your life:
FIRST IS YOUR MINDSET.
Almost anyone you ask will tell you they are a Growth Mindset person. No one willingly admits to being a Fixed Mindset person. However, when things get tough, we can begin to exhibit Fixed Mindset characteristics. Fixed Mindset people believe that intelligence, talents, and personalities are fixed traits that cannot grow. You think you are born with a certain level of ability and are unable to improve your abilities over time. Growth Mindset people, on the other hand, believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. Your reaction to something difficult and challenging is a great test of which mindset you are living out. If you struggle, complain, get stressed, or even worse, in a fixed mindset, you won’t take on a tough challenge because you believe you are not up to it. If you have a growth mindset, you view the challenging assignment as an opportunity to learn new things, increase your skill set, and raise your game.
SECOND, ASK YOURSELF IF YOU ARE TEACHABLE.
Be honest! Teachable people see new challenges and experiences as an opportunity to learn something new. If you are not teachable, you will see these challenges and difficult times as something to be avoided. Teachable people don’t wish things were easier; they get busy getting better by learning new things.
THIRD, ARE YOU SUBCONSCIOUSLY TRYING TO STAY IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
If you have been experiencing success over the past months and years, as many people have, you may have developed some level of complacency. Complacency, fueled by success, can promote a very comfortable zone for you to operate within. Stop wishing things were easier and move toward the difficult and challenging things. They are outside your comfort zone, which is where great things happen.
FINALLY, DO AN ATTITUDE CHECK.
One of the signs of someone wishing things were easier is how their attitude goes negative when things get hard. It can be easy to become negative about your work, about requests people make of you, and about how hard things seem. What story are you telling yourself about these new challenges? Improve your attitude, and you will improve your story.
When you can honestly evaluate your mindset, teachableness, comfort zone, and attitude, you can make the corrections needed to take your game to the next level. Stop wishing things were easier and instead wish you were better.
 From Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol Dweck
About Perry Holley
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with Maxwell Leadership, as well as a published author. As co-host of the Maxwell Leadership Executive Leadership Podcast, he has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.
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