Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom. – Jim Rohn
Winter is coming is a euphemism for “trying times are ahead”. Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate regions. Winter is associated with snow, icy weather, freezing temperature and it is also associated with the tough and trying times in life. I grew up in the tropical climate of Nigeria where we had only dry and wet seasons. I did not fully experience seasonal winter until I relocated to the west.
Life is a rollercoaster of circumstances, challenges, crises, ups and downs, frowns, and smiles. As Musician John Lenon once noted: “Life is what happens to you while you‘re busy making other plans”. When the challenges of life happen, they often happen so fast. No one has a problem-free life, tough times do not last but tough people do.
According to best-selling author and psychiatrist Dr. Gordon Livingston “Only bad things happen quickly.” In his book, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now, he asserted:
“When we think about the things that alter our lives in a moment, nearly all of them are bad: phone calls in the night, accidents, loss of jobs or loved ones, conversations with doctors bearing awful news. In fact, apart from a last-second touchdown, unexpected inheritance, winning the lottery, or a visitation from God, it is hard to imagine sudden good news. Virtually all the happiness-producing processes in our lives take time, usually a long time: learning new things, changing old behaviors, building satisfying relationships, raising children. This is why patience and determination are among life’s primary virtues.”
Like life, one of the most predictable things in life is the change seasons of life. Winter gives way to spring, the season in which plants start to grow again. Then comes summer, the hottest season. After that is autumn, in which the weather begins to cool off and the leaves fall from some trees. Winter is usually the toughest time we all have to go through at some point in life. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Winter is always coming.
“Much of life is in learning to always remain part of the solution rather than allowing ourselves to become part of the problem.”
In his illuminating book, The Seasons of Life, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn writes about the constancy of the changing seasons of life. He noted:
“For all of us, the only constant factor in life is our feelings and attitudes toward life. A major challenge faced by us all is that we learn to experience the changing of life’s cycles without being changed by them. To make a constant and conscious effort to improve ourselves in the face of changing circumstances is to assure a tolerance for the winters of life’s events, and to permit ourselves the full enjoyment of the blessings of life’s harvest come the autumn.”
Jim further wrote:
“The first great lesson of life to learn is that winter will always come; not only in the winter of cold, and wind, and ice, and snow, but the human winters of despair and loneliness, or disappointment, or tragedy. It is winter when prayers go unanswered, or when the acts of our children leave us shaken and stunned. It is winter when the economy turns against us, or when creditors come after us. It is winter when competition threatens, or when a friend takes advantage. Winter comes in many forms, and at any time, both to the planter of crops as well as to the person in business, or even to our personal lives.”
“The arrival of winter finds us in one of two categories: Either we are prepared or we are unprepared.”
To those who are prepared, who have planted abundantly in the spring, guarded their crops carefully during the summer, and harvested massively during the fall, winter can be yet another season of opportunity. It can be a time for reading, a time for planning, a time for gathering our strength for the coming spring, and a time for taking comfortable shelter. It can be a time of great enjoyment, a time to be shared with those we love, and with those with whom we have labored.
“Winter is a time for rest, but not excessive rest. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of our labors, but not a time for gluttony. It is a time for warm conversations, but not a time for complacency. It is a time to be proud, but not a time to be egotistical.”
To those who are unprepared, the arrival of winter is a time for regret and a time for sorrow. Having lacked the willingness to pay the pain of earlier discipline, we now pay the heavier pain of regret. The burdens and chains of discipline would seem insignificant when compared to the massive weights and cumbersome restraints of regret.
“ To the prepared, winter is springtime in yet another form, but to those who are ill-prepared, winter’s arrival is full of horror and uncertainty. Love and harmony give way to accusations and anger.”
Winter is when a trusted friend gives you cause for disappointment, or when an expected business goes to a competitor. A frigid blast from the cold, harsh words of someone you love is winter, and so is the pessimism or cynicism from someone whose advice and counsel you seek.
“If you are without love, money, or employment, it is a winter, and its very appearance is because you’ve missed a springtime somewhere. Neglect is always costly, and winter is merely a circumstance, an effect brought on by some earlier cause. ”
Jim Rohn had the following advice on dealing with the winter of life
Let winter find you planning for the arrival of spring, not contemplating the errors of commission and omission of last year. Let winter find you with a joyful countenance and a happy heart…with a good word for all those around you; with appreciation of the past, not regret; and finally, with gratitude for your achievements, adversities, and uncertainties of life, for each is a form of blessing which removes all limitations from the future possibilities of life.
“Winter is a time for examining, pondering, and introspection. It is a time for re-evaluating both purpose and procedure, for rediscovering an often misplaced sense of purpose.”
Life is hard sometimes, it breaks us all. Easy is not an option but we have to fight for what we believe in. As author and motivational speaker, Les Brown once said “Life is a fight for territory and once you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically take over.” If you do what is easy, your life would be hard but If you do what is hard your life would be easy. It is not about what is happening outside of you, it is about what is happening inside. You are not what you are going through: challenges, trauma, tribulations, and crisis. You can not change the seasons of life but you can change your outlook of the changing season.
The winter of our lives comes in the form of job loss, divorce, infertility, rejection, heartbreak, disappointment, miscarriage, bankruptcy, poverty, exam failure, terminal illness, old age, midlife crisis, accident, grief, tragedy, trauma, suffering, pain, vicissitudes, sickness, trials, and tribulations. These periods are usually tough and lonely. Our friends know us during prosperity and we know our friends during adversity. In life, you are either coming out of a storm, heading into a storm, or going through a storm.
American Novelist Ernest Hemingway remarked: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. The winter, challenges, vicissitudes, and tribulations of life are always around the corner. Whatever would go would eventually go wrong (Murphys Law). The storm and the winters of life are always coming and no matter how tough the tribulations, weather, and challenges; it is here to teach you something. The winters of our life do not last forever, you’ve got to hang on by preparing for the coming winter.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” – Ernest Hemingway
Temporary Defeat is part of Life
In his thought-provoking book “Think and Grow Rich” American self-help author, Napoleon Hill writes about great men that turned temporary defeat into great triumph. He writes:
Thomas A. Edison “failed” ten thousand times before he perfected the incandescent electric light bulb. That is– he met with temporary defeat ten thousand times before his efforts were crowned with success.
Temporary defeat should mean only one thing, the certain knowledge that there is something wrong with your plan. Millions of men go through life in misery and poverty, because they lack a sound plan through which to accumulate a fortune.
Henry Ford accumulated a fortune, not because of his superior mind, but because he adopted and followed a PLAN which proved to be sound. A thousand men could be pointed out, each with a better education than Ford’s, yet each of whom lives in poverty, because he does not possess the RIGHT plan for the accumulation of money.
Your achievement can be no greater than your PLANS are sound. That may seem to be an axiomatic statement, but it is true.
Samuel Insull lost his fortune of over one hundred million dollars. The Insull fortune was built on plans which were sound. The business depression forced Mr. Insull to CHANGE HIS PLANS; and the CHANGE brought “temporary defeat,” because his new plans were NOT SOUND. Mr. Insull is now an old man, he may, consequently, accept “failure” instead of “temporary defeat,” but if his experience turns out to be FAILURE, it will be for the reason that he lacks the fire of PERSISTENCE to rebuild his plans.
No man is ever whipped, until he QUITS– in his own mind.
James J. Hill met with temporary defeat when he first endeavored to raise the necessary capital to build a railroad from the East to the West, but he too turned defeat into victory through new plans.
Henry Ford met with temporary defeat, not only at the beginning of his automobile career but after he had gone far toward the top. He created new plans and went marching on to financial victory.
We see men who have accumulated great fortunes, but we often recognize only their triumph, overlooking the temporary defeats which they had to surmount before “arriving.”
“NO FOLLOWER OF THIS PHILOSOPHY CAN REASONABLY EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE A FORTUNE WITHOUT EXPERIENCING “TEMPORARY DEFEAT.” When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal. If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a “quitter.”
A QUITTER NEVER WINS–AND– A WINNER NEVER QUITS.
The boy scout motto is “Be Prepared”. It is a great motto to live by. Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst, expect nothing, and you’ll be able to weather the storms when they eventually arrive. According to a Scandinavians saying “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather only bad clothes”. The key to weathering the winter season is to be prepared with appropriate clothing and gears. During the winter seasons, we change a lot of things in order to outlast the season such as our clothing, room temperature, shoes, tires, etc.
Everything in life is impermanent, nothing lasts forever. There is a reason for every season, every testimony needs a test, every mess has got its message, everything that is trying to make you less has got a lesson, every wall is a door; it is all temporary. This too shall pass, it is here to test your faith and perseverance. As American civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. once quipped “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“A man’s character is not judged after he celebrates a victory, but by what he does when his back is against the wall.”— John Cena
Whether it is relational, financial, or healthy winters, they are always around the corner. One of the major keys to navigating the tough times, seasons, weather, climate, or situation is to always be prepared. We get prepared by becoming aware of our environment and our self. We would not be remembered for the storm or pain we avoided in life but for the challenges, we survived. As former United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt once remarked ‘A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.’
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd
Winter is coming, Be Prepared. This too Shall Pass, It has not come to stay but to make you stronger. As German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche noted ” “That which does not kill me makes me stronger”. You’ve got this.
“When winter comes…
You’ll hear no lions roar…
No stags grazing the fields…
No roses growing in the meadows…
No snakes in the sand…
The krakens will freeze where they swim…
The flayed men will rot and wither…
No trouts swimming in the river and no falcons flying in the air…
Not even the dragon’s breath will warm you in your halls.
You shall hear only the wolves howl…
And then you will know. Winter has come.”
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.