When Do We Learn?

"When it is dark enough, men see the stars." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many years ago a young salesman I worked with was facing a bit of adversity and we had a chat. His sales were down considerably and he wasn't taking the actions he needed to turn things around. In business demand slows sometimes and we have to do better, and more, to get the sales that during good times would be just "coming in". We can't just take orders ~ we've got to really work for them. The conversation we were having turned to character and he made a statement that I will never forget. He said - "If I was in a war, I'd be different. My focus would be more intense and I would rise to the occasion." He took great offense when I disagreed and said "In times of war our character is the same as any other time. It is simply more evident to others." Adversity reveals character - but so does the way we face our daily tasks and responsibilities - Difficult conditions highlight the same character that we display each day under less trying circumstances. Most people make decisions when they have to, change when they have to, learn when they have to, or adjust behavior and habits when they have to. Very few take difficult and uncomfortable actions before they have to - but those that do earn enormous respect and rewards. The young salesman looked at me with disbelief and I realized that, no matter what was said, it wasn't yet dark enough for him to see the stars.

When do we learn? ~ When it gets dark enough.

1 comment:

  1. The tough times are what bring out character and it isn't always pretty. I've known a number of people over the last few years who worked the same amount while expecting different results. Despite the tough economic times they felt they could perform at the same level as always and that the economy wouldn't affect them. It did and by the time they realized it, it ws too late and either their income fell precipitously or they were let go from their work. The moral: don't be reactive, be proactive in all you do. Sometimes though you have to hit bottom before the lesson sinks in.