When the Going Gets Tough

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. We have all heard that cliche. Not to be too negative but its corollary is “When the going gets tough, it is really tough to go”.


Why restate it? Because the cliche bounces in one ear and lands nowhere quite often. While “the tough get going” implies that it is tough to go. If you (preaching to myself as well) forget that tough times are tough to go in, it will catch you by surprise and that brings a danger with it.

That danger is paralysis of action. Tough going has a tendency to cause several forms of paralysis.

  1. Procrastination-We don’t do the things that the difficult times demand. Mainly because we are avoiding the pain of the situation and escaping into activities that are a comfort to us.  The actions to perform in tough times force us to enter that pain. The procrastination is really a sticking of the head in the sand to not see the hungry tiger. That pain must be faced and passed through to lead an effective life. The tough get going by facing that tough pain
  2. Indecision-We can also get paralyzed by not making any decisions. The cause is also usually related to not facing the pain as it is a form of procrastination. To weigh options forces us to face the pain in a very pointed way. We have to enter the pain to think about the options. And that is compounded by fear of more pain if we make the wrong decision. The tough get going facing that pain.
  3. Depression-Pain from tough times can lead into a depressed state of mind. Facing pain while depressed is tough as we want to escape. The tough get going despite depression.

Tough times will come. Very tough times will come. We all need to remember that they are with pain and not be paralyzed to inaction by that pain. The “tough” enter into the pain and pass through to the other side of it.

David deBoisblanc is president at White Forest Partners. Helping their client achieve sales, marketing and client satisfaction success is White Forest Partners’ mission

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