Times are tough indeed! Unemployment among African Americans is alarmingly high; just about every black family has been touched by it in some way. Our wages are shrinking at a rate faster than the general population, which means we are taking home less pay with mounting bills. Healthcare reform is on the horizon (at least until the Democrats stand up and fight for it!), but rising costs are shrinking our disposal able income even more.
So what to do in the face of these pervasive tough times? We should understand that tough times don’t last but tough people do, we should know that those who came before us had it much tougher than we can imagine and we should stop engaging in ‘group think’ as we navigate choppy waters toward our destiny.
First, we should reacquaint ourselves with a principle articulated many years ago by the eminent preacher, Robert Schuler: tough times don’t last, tough people do! We have always been a resilient people; we have conquered the worst of circumstances and proven our desire to be successful against the odds! Think about the time when you faced your most difficult challenge; when you were counted out by those forecasting your defeat. Think of the strength you marshaled from within, the intestinal fortitude you summoned and how you came out on top as a testimony to your strength! Recall and relive those moments!
Second, we should understand that, now matter how tough things are, we will never have it as tough as those who have come before us, and we should look to their experiences for lessons in succeeding against the odds. Think for a moment about your ancestors and how they overcame circumstances one thousand times more difficult than what we can ever imagine – and did so without the benefit of the technological advances at our fingertips today! Find solace in that and remind yourself constantly ‘if they could overcome tough times and live to tell about it, then so can I!’
Lastly, in these tough economic times, don’t make the mistake of believing everything you hear. In other words, don’t engage in ‘group think’. All around us we hear the media chatter about the ‘bad economy.’ Many people put their dreams on hold as a consequence. But as the seminal motivational speaker Zig Ziglar recently stated, “The bad economy is not ‘out there’, it’s in your mind!” It’s how we are processing what we see, hear and ingest on an almost daily basis. Do you really think everybody is having it bad? No! It was reported that more millionaires were made during the 1929 Great Depression than any other period in American history. There are ways to find success in every downcast, you just have to be open to the possibilities!
We will always have tough times; it’s a hallmark of human development and change. But tough people find ways to be victorious as opposed to victims – even when the chips are down!