Motivational materials usually have to be read with some degree of circumspect. Even as a coach and motivational trainer, I have caught myself saying things in my exuberance that later needed to be modified. Take our quote today which comes to us from the Reverend Robert Schuler. I am always built up listening to what he has to say. In today’s quote he says “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” My knee jerk reaction was “Wow! Isn’t that the truth?” But in thinking it through a bit, I pondered on things like American black slavery. Those tough times lasted over 400 years for some as did the slavery of the Israelites by the Egyptians around 1300 B.C.E. If you were a slave living in those tough times there was little truth found in Reverend Schuler’s words. The truth is there are tough times that do last a life time for some of us. However If you were to look at your life you would see that tough times rarely do last forever. They are cyclical. They come and they go. It is with this inference in mind that Schuler speaks. Of course, every individual experiences life differently and if one lives life unwisely, they will suffer more than the next. Though external circumstances play a role, we have a lot to do with how tough life becomes for us. For example, life would surely be tough if one were sick all the time with influenza and bleeding body sores and waves of nausea and vomiting – yet one could bring these conditions upon themselves by contracting the HIV virus through living promiscuous lives. One could live in and out of terrible jail cells and half-way-houses for living a life of crime. One could suffer the terrible affects of lung cancer by choosing to smoke. In fact there is a lot of research that indicates that most diseases that we suffer are traceable to life-style choices that we ourselves make. The second half of Schuler’s statement says that tough people last. Well no one last forever, so what Schuler is inferring is that tough people last longer than most. The reason for that are tough people, self-disciplined people, make life choices that lead to better health, better living habitations, better finances, better relationships, and so on. By tough, Robert Schuler is not talking about street-wise tough, or gangster-tough. He is referring to a toughness born in wisdom; a toughness that means strength of character. This is a character that chooses the right; a character that learns the actions that lead to good outcomes. This is a character molded through hard work and ethical behavior; a character that shows respect to elders; charity towards the weak and poor; and courage to stand up for what is right against the evil doer. This character endures trials by being patient and suffering with dignity when one must suffer. The reason why life fairs better for those described here is because they live in harmony with the laws of the universe. Instead of rebelling against law, they submit to it. Tough people can endure a great deal in their lives. In fact that is the crux of Schuler’s entire statement isn’t it? It’s all about endurance. Tough people endure the tough times. They act as if they know something more than the rest. They seem to have a deeper appreciation for what is at the end of the suffering. Tough people walk through tough times like fire-walkers who walk over hot coals without sensing the pain. There is a glow about them that comes from someplace familiar but distant to the rest. The tough know the meaning of the words “Press On”. It means keep marching through the hard times for there is a time coming when tears and sadness will be no more. Neither will death nor sickness even exist. They are able to press on because they know this is certain and any tough times that are hurled upon them through no accord of their own shall pass away as certain as the sun rises and sets each day. If you meet upon tough times today remember that there is a better tomorrow. Your suffering will be for a time and then it will be gone. You will find as you look back that you too are in that special group of tough ones that is able to endure the worst. Until tomorrow comes, press on!