It’s easy to get discouraged when the going gets tough. But I want you to try something. The next time you reach the point where you can’t even imagine what more could go wrong, and you just want to hide under the covers and admit defeat—try changing your perspective and celebrating instead.
Like I mentioned before, unless you’ve met adversity, you don’t know how strong your character is. You don’t know what you’re fighting against, and you don’t have anything to push you forward. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Maybe instead of throwing our hands in the air, we should be welcoming the opportunity to grow.
I wrote in my book, Toughen Up!, that people only become great when they have to struggle, adapt, and overcome. And I stand by that. Think about the last time you achieved something great. It wasn’t easy, was it? If you’ve been facing difficulties while trying to achieve your life’s purpose, congratulations! You’re probably on the right track.
Remember when I was first starting out and I experienced those unexpected rejections? Before that happened, things had been going relatively smoothly, all things considered. Of course, there are always bumps in the road when you’re starting a new business, but I was very optimistic and had plenty of energy. So when I was rejected a couple of times in a row, without even getting a chance to present my business, it was devastating. It was hard to push through and keep going. But I did—and I learned from it. I focused on keeping my character strong and, instead of dwelling on the fact that I was rejected, I looked at ways that I could achieve a different outcome the next time. I changed my perspective! I toughened up and kept going.
It’s been years since that disappointing day, and I still get rejected. But now, I try to learn from it so that the next meeting might go differently. And sometimes those rejections are for the best. Maybe that person just wouldn’t have been a good fit for my business.
One of the toughest challenges is learning to deal with attacks on your business and your personal goals. Writer Henry James addressed this when he said, “I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.” Now, that doesn’t mean we have to go out looking for enemies, but I think it’s important to remember that if we’re doing truly important work, we’ll naturally provoke those people. And when that happens, instead of doubting ourselves, we should celebrate the opportunity to strengthen our character.
There’s an old saying that hits the nail on the head: “If you haven’t been misquoted, you probably haven’t said anything that matters. And if you haven’t been attacked, you probably aren’t doing much that will really make a difference.”
Has disappointment or rejection helped make you stronger? Share your experience in the comments!