My Dad was a Marine Private 1st Class in WWII. He had strung the telephone lines for communication with the commanders. He knew about danger and hanging tough in frightening circumstances. He learned to work as part of a team, but also be an independent thinker, and that you get nowhere in life without hard work.
At home, he did most things ‘the Marine way’, whether it was ironing perfect pleats, making the bedsheets so tight his quarter bounced off them, or teaching his children to be independent. He worked hard to earn a college diploma and graduate from law school. He practiced law and then reached his career goal of becoming a judge. He hoped to pass on the values and lessons he’d learned to those who came before him in court.
He was known for saying, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. He had three little girls and, knowing the world could be a rough place sometimes, he wanted us to grow up strong and confident and able to take care of ourselves.
Thanks, Dad. I learned much from you.
Today’s world is a tough place. Although many of us are managing to get by, there are so many others struggling more than they ever imagined they would. The divorce rate, illiteracy and obesity are at an all-time high. Cancer and heart disease are the biggest killers. Homelessness is ever increasing and we can’t care for them all. Devastation from natural disasters, chemicals and hormones in our foods are making people sick, and tens of thousands of people are out of work and losing their homes and life savings. Murders and theft in some cities have hit record numbers. I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve heard the news.
So, what do we do?
The only way the world will get better is one person at a time, one act of charity, one act of responsibility, one good decision at a time. Be responsible for your little world. Your changes, your positive acts will create a ripple effect.
Here are some ideas:
1. Take care of yourself first. You can’t help anyone else if you aren’t stable–your health, your finances, your mental attitude.
2. Smile, no matter how you feel. Smile at strangers and smile at yourself in the mirror. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.
3. Forgive and forget, if not for someone else, then for yourself. Holding a grudge will make you sick. Let it go.
4. Take another look at your finances. Can you get a second job, sell things you don’t need, give up professional manicures, cook at home more often than going out?
5. Organize your world. Keep good records, clean your basement, rake your leaves, fix the doorknob. Creating order in your life gives you a feeling of control over what can be controlled.
6. Do something charitable everyday. Help an elderly neighbor with her grocery shopping, cook a meal for a sick friend, volunteer a little time to help a child learn a skill, drive someone to his doctor appointment, let someone step ahead of you in line at the market.
7. Choose to be healthy. Walk everyday, cut out sugar and high fats from your meals, drink water instead of soda. Get regular check ups, brush and floss your teeth daily, keep your brain active.
8. Don’t stress. Stress causes free radicals to roam your system looking for trouble. Instead, let go of worry and make a plan, let go of fear and look for opportunity, let go of anger and make up, let go of self-pity and dig for your strength.
9. Adopt a positive outlook no matter how bleak life looks. You will better recognize new opportunities, make better choices and draw positive forces toward you.
10. Keep dreaming and pursuing creative outlets. You’re not alone in your struggle-there is always someone else worse off than you. Appreciate what you do have and build on it. Live in the moment. Even tough times have their rewards.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. Winston Churchill
Above all, remember you have the strength to withstand most anything. You may have to reach down deep to yank it out, but it’s there. Be tough, encourage those around you to be tough and know you’re not alone.
Besides your positive attitude, what have you found helps to get through tough times?
You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!