When the Going Gets Tough… Lessons to Learn from the Crappy Stuff

Life can be tough. There is no doubt of that. We’ve all experienced times when things aren’t going our way and feels like the world is against us. I get it. I’ve been there more times than I care to remember.

The most recent difficult situation I was thrown in to was when the contractor I’d hired to rehab my house took my money and didn’t do the work. What little work he did do was substandard and dangerous. He moved a load bearing wall without reinforcing the ceiling, causing the ceiling to sag. The entire ceiling structure was in jeopardy of collapse.

It was bad.

I didn’t have any money left. I was forced to turn to good friends to help bail me out of a really difficult situation. If it wasn’t for them and their overwhelming kindness, I would have lost everything.

It sucked to have to admit that I screwed up and made some serious mistakes. Of course, had I made those mistakes with an honest person, everything would have been fine, but this person was unscrupulous and didn’t care that he put me in a severe financial situation.

Lesson learned.

It took months to slog through the continuing obstacles we faced on the project. Each week it seemed something else would go wrong and there was a whole new set of problems to deal with.

There were many times I didn’t think I was going to make it. For me the future didn’t exist. All my poor brain could handle was dealing with what was on my plate at that very moment. If I could get through that, then I’d worry about the rest. I didn’t have the brain power to think any farther.

It was a grueling process. The only way I managed to get through it all was to take it one issue at a time. When I got through that one issue, I’d tackle the next.

At times it felt like I was taking two steps forward, three steps sideways, and one step back. It was a hell of an experience, but somehow, I made it through.

I’m blessed to have people in my life who were there to help when things got tough. I’m also grateful to have learned some lessons that should prevent that situation from repeating itself. I will, I’m sure, do other stupid things that will require other, very important lessons to be learned.

It’s in those times when things are the darkest that we fall into the destructive tendency of negative self talk. We allow negative thoughts and destructive actions to permeate our beliefs and send us down the black hole of self doubt or depression. It requires great personal effort to dig down deep and be honest with how your thoughts and beliefs are affecting your ability to cope with trying situations. I’ve thrown some of the best pity parties around, but it’s not healthy or productive to allow negative thoughts derail you and alter your outlook or your path.

The next time your world seems like it’s imploding, try this technique to get through the tough times. Choose the most important issue you are facing, the one that is most important and vital to the completion of your project or goal at that moment. Focus only on that one issue and block out absolutely everything else until you have accomplished that item.

You will find that by having that one small success, it will remove a bit of burden and give you enough confidence and energy to tackle the next most pressing issue or item.

Focus singularly on that one item and work to complete that task.

It may sound like baby steps but often we are so inundated with deadlines and pressures that we fail to prioritize important steps and we run around in circles making ourselves crazy while nothing gets done.

You may worry that focusing on only one issue will slow the entire process, but when your energies are focused you are actually able to accomplish more.

When my rehab project was a disaster, literally everything in the house needed to get done. We still had an open wall to the outside where the additional was planned, but until the plumbing issues were corrected we couldn’t pour the foundation. We couldn’t close up the wall until we had a foundation, so the only reasonable item to focus on was the plumbing. Once we got that item signed off by the inspector we poured the foundation. Once the foundation was signed off we framed in and finished the wall.

There was a logical process and once we focused on that, we were able to move on to other items that needed completion.

It was a process. Life is a process.

Also, looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. Breaking up huge problems into smaller, more manageable items help remove some pressure. Blocking out everything else will help you feel more in control and provide you some much needed emotional strength to keep moving forward.

Despite dealing with all the problems and issues you are facing, it’s important to not lose the valuable lessons going through such difficult situations provides.

I know it may be difficult to look for the lesson when you’re deep in the trenches, but it’s vitally important to take a moment to look back and see what lessons those opportunities provided you.

Every problem has two components; a solution and a lesson. Don’t make the mistake of going through a difficult situation and not learning the lesson it brings.

Proceed with caution. If it’s a lesson you need to learn, the Universe will keep sending similar problems until you finally learn the lesson. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you keep dating the wrong people.

The Universe has a way of smacking you upside the head repeatedly until you learn the lesson. If you’re stubborn like me, you could be in for a bumpy ride. And just so you know, the Universe doesn’t fool around. It starts with a little tap, then it gives you a push, and if you still aren’t paying attention, you might find yourself face down in the gutter cursing life and screaming that life isn’t fair. Don’t ask me how I know.



Life’s short. Eat the cake. Buy the car. Laugh until you cry. Please yourself. Be real. Always be honest. Live with integrity. Never give up. Be better everyday

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Life’s short. Eat the cake. Buy the car. Laugh until you cry. Please yourself. Be real. Always be honest. Live with integrity. Never give up. Be better everyday