When times are lean, it is very easy to grow dark, bitter, fearful, and/or discouraged. We must find an effective way to stay sharp, positive, and productive. King David wrote a Psalm about the notion of remaining steadfast when even "a thousand fall on the right of me and ten thousand fall on the left of me." Here are four internal choices to avoid:
1. The choice to envy: The ability to celebrate others' successes (that are achieved honestly and ethically) or the result of pure luck, is an internal decision. We must refuse to grow jealous, think critically out of envy, and assume the worst of others that do achieve. When another person achieves something great during these hard times, it is a fantastic opportunity to congratulate, buy them lunch, pick their brain, and repeat what they did. Instead of a chance to envy, we overcome the negative temptation by learning and working.
2. The choice to quit: When we are doing all the right things, and have already redoubled our efforts, and have already networked out the wazooo, refuse the temptation to give up. Instead of quitting, begin quizzing your actions, habits, circumstances, and attitude. Take new looks at yourself. Ask others for feedback. Be willing to try something new. Work harder. Never, ever give up. Never quit. Change tactics? Yes. Improve attitude? Yes. Learn new techniques? Absolutely. Refuse to cheat yourself and guarantee a ZERO return on your investment.
3. The choice to grow cynical and negative: Attitudes and personalities develop over time. They can also change in difficult circumstances. A once bright and productive person can be dark and slow. Tough times, traumas, major letdowns, poor results, betrayal, and more can lead us to negativity and cynicism before we realize it. When we work very hard and see little or no positive result, the temptation is to think that things will never work out, that fate is bent against us. Choose to examine the current market and environment, assess your own activities, and seek counsel. But, refuse to criticize yourself needlessly and believe in some faceless power that is set against you.
4. The choice to cheat: This may be the strongest and most frequent temptation. Bending the truth, cutting corners, using manipulation, and deception are easy to rationalize when we tell ourselves that "everybody else is doing it." Those beliefs that we choose to believe have dramatic effects on the ways in which we feel and thus behave. We fool ourselves into feeling good about wrongdoing. "It's not that bad." "Everybody does it." "Everybody lies." It's all one road to cheating and rationalization. Choose character and integrity always. Dignity matters.
I hope these thoughts are helpful and encouraging to you. God bless you in your work.