post written by: Marc Chernoff

16 Harsh Truths that Make Us Stronger


Harsh Truths that Make Us Stronger

It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more manhood (or womanhood) to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.
- Alex Karras

  1. Life is not easy. – Hard work makes people lucky – it’s the stuff that brings dreams to reality.  So start every morning ready to run farther than you did yesterday and fight harder than you ever have before.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
  2. You will fail sometimes.  – The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  So get out there and do something!  Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson.  Win – Win.
  3. Right now, there’s a lot you don’t know. – The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.  Embrace new information, think about it and use it to advance yourself.
  4. There may not be a tomorrow. – Not for everyone.  Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today.  This is sad but true.  So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it.
  5. There’s a lot you can’t control. – Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control.
  6. Information is not true knowledge. – Knowledge comes from experience.  You can discuss a task a hundred times, but these discussions will only give you a philosophical understanding.  You must experience a task firsthand to truly know it.
  7. You can’t be successful without providing value. – Don’t waste your time trying to be successful, spend your time creating value.  When you’re valuable to the world around you, you will be successful.  (Read Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?)
  8. Someone else will always have more than you.  – Whether it’s money, friends or magic beans that you’re collecting, there will always be someone who has more than you.  But remember, it’s not how many you have, it’s how passionate you are about collecting them.  It’s all about the journey.
  9. You can’t change the past. – As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it.
  10. The only person who can make you happy is you. – The root of your happiness comes from your relationship with yourself.  Sure external entities can have fleeting effects on your mood, but in the long run nothing matters more than how you feel about who you are on the inside.
  11. There will always be people who don’t like you. – You can’t be everything to everyone.  No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently.  So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right.  What others think and say about you isn’t all that important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.
  12. You won’t always get what you want. – As Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.”  Look around.  Appreciate the things you have right now.  Many people aren’t so lucky.
  13. In life, you get what you put in. – If you want love, give love.  If you want friends, be friendly.  If you want money, provide value.  It really is this simple.  (Read The Four Agreements.)
  14. Good friends will come and go. – Most of your high school friends won’t be a part of your college life.  Most of your college friends won’t be a part of your 20-something professional life.  Most of your 20-something friends won’t be there when your spouse and you bring your second child into the world.  But some friends will stick.  And it’s these friends – the ones who transcend time with you – who matter.
  15. Doing the same exact thing every day hinders self growth. – If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Growth happens when you change things – when you try new things – when you stretch beyond your comfort zone.
  16. You will never feel 100% ready for something new. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means you won’t feel totally comfortable or ready for it.

And remember, trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.  Strength comes from being comfortable in your own skin.

Photo by: Jhong Dizon

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33 Comments

  • Number 16 is so true. I was extremely nervous about going to university. I thought that I wouldn’t make it and that I wouldn’t be smart enough. Instead of making excuses I just went full force. I came to class early, did my readings, and worked my butt off. Now that I’m done with school I laugh at the thought that I would even be nervous about school.

  • While these are true, rather than letting them hold us back, we need to move forward with things that we know ARE true.

    Great post guys!

    Bernice
    Speeding through Life

  • “There’s a lot you can’t control.” I have finally realized this one, instead of trying to control everything, first off it’s exhausting and second I end up spinning my wheels.

  • I like #7 the most. Now, just need a brainstorming moment to find ways to be of value to others (regarding writing a blog post, if nothing else) …

  • Great article. Reminds me of what life is about! Thank you.

  • can u please elaborate on number 5?

  • Great post, as always! Two quick thoughts

    1) Point 1 brings to mind the immortal Samuel Goldwyn quote: “The harder I work, the luckier I get!”

    2) You are absolutely right on Point 14 - good friends do come and go. But I disagree that it is only the ones who stick around that matter. I think the larger point is that as we grow and change throughout life, so do the people who surround us, our environment - and vice versa. (I wrote more about this in a recent post: http://www.quotessuccess.com/ecology-check/) It is this change and interplay that helps us grow, that enhances our lives. And it is life’s impermanence that gives it value. I think all friends matter and should be valued because, whether they’re there for a moment or a lifetime, they all shape who we are.

  • Good friends will come and go…that’s been a tough one for me to accept. I always assumed that friendships were lifetime relationships, but life has shown me that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, even the best of friends grow apart.

  • Number 13 is great!!

  • i love point number 3
    there is that thing called expert pest where you stop learning because you think that you know alot and then you are doomed :)

  • Your writing and ideas get better and better every day!

  • I may be a sucker for that sad but true statement that there may not be a tomorrow.

    I have lived through cancer twice and I’m still in my mid 20’s, and even I sometimes forget that. Thanks for helping me reflect again on the importance of time.

  • Can you follow me around and tell me these things when I act stupid?

    Number 2 is my favorite. My perfectionism constantly destroys what I want to do. Or rather, I let it. It pervades everything that I attempt, even the sentences I’m writing. And now that I look back to see things I can change, I’m not going to. So here is an unedited sentence:

    Thanks marc and Angel for doing this blog. it’s really great i hope that i Can learn from everything and I hope I apply it.

    My god…painful.

    Thank you for your constant flow on inspiration. I am going to try my best to apply this (and other good things) to my life.

    Have a mega-awesome day!

  • I don’t know about harsh truths - I read them as responsible realisms we need to be aware of. The self-help field is flooded with the uba positive and the feel good factor stuff, so it’s rather healthy and sanely wise to remind us that life isn’t always a bed of roses. Forewarned is forearmed as they say!

  • The last one really did it for me:

    You will never feel 100% ready for something new. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means you won’t feel totally comfortable or ready for it.

    I need this. Thank you so much.

  • Fantastic article, and I am going to bookmark it for reference. I intend on writing a blog post going into detail on some of the points you made. A few of them hit close to home for me, especially the ideas of not being able to change your past. For quite a while, I lingered on failures in the past and I had to get over those failures and look at my accomplishments.

  • The quote at the top in particular stuck with me. “More strength to relate to people than to dominate them.”

    Reminds me of Gandhi’s quote about only the brave being able to love. So so true.

  • Great post! The hardest truth for me personally:
    #5: There’s a lot you can’t control.

    The biggest truth:
    #4: There may not be a tomorrow.

    The best quote of the day ~
    “Information is not true knowledge”

    BTW, I found you on Kristi’s Fetching Friday. Nice job.

  • This is my first visit to your blog, but definitely not my last. I need to see more of this stuff, and I’m looking forward to checking out some of your older posts! This hit home for me on so many points. It’s is a nice reminder and helpful for me to refocus my energy on the things that matter. Thanks.

  • This post is so inspiring. I’ve also bookmarked it as reference and so that I can blog about some of these same topics in the near future.

    #5 has been one of the hardest lessons for me. I always had a plan, and then one day I found myself free-falling out of my job, out of my apartment, out of the state, and landing back in my parents’ house. Almost 3 years later, I’m still here, and I’ve finally started to accept that sometimes you can’t always have a plan (as you said, there won’t always be a tomorrow) and sometimes you just need to let go, let God, and do the best you can with what you’ve got.

    Thank you so much for this.

  • I think these statements are so true. The biggest thing most will run into is how to related them to what is going on in their personal life.

  • Good things to know… :-) Thanks.

  • oladipupo idowu marcus
    May 2nd, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    wao, this is aweome. It was a stroke of luck i ran into this page and i found it very very helpful. This is a must-read for all my friends. thank you very much, excellente!!!!!!!

  • @aziam in instagram
    June 3rd, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Great article! Brain opener I classified it. There was once I thought that I’m standing still facing everyday life…and in the end what’s all matter is how we take bravery to find strenght and be bold in making us to move forward. As we are too comfortable in our zone which we believe and try to believe and understand are the right choice. These list are statement that make me wonder how true life can be… Now I have check list to help me to move forward without hesitation :) Thanks to these article!

  • Point 12 is great - being grateful is a simple way to feel better about everything and lose your self focus on feeling lost.

    Lovely lovely post with some bald, brutal truths.

  • Late to the party but love your site and this posting. Thank you!

  • You can’t change the past. True, so many people try to change their past and end up neglecting their present. What’s gone is over and we can’t live it all over again.

    Thank you very much for the reminder.

  • #4 is the harshest truth, and the one most people do not think about…

  • #16. Thank you for writing this the way you did. Rings so true.

  • Thank you for this blog. Finally… a truthful. inspiring blog that is full of amazing things to read.

  • No. 7 I know provides lots of value, it’s just hard to get this point across to others. People say they want to be healthy but don’t want to work for it or change for it.

  • Great truths, living by these rules does indeed make us stronger.

  • Lost my oldest friend on the planet this summer. We met in grade 6, we were maybe 11 years old. We turned 50 in 2011.

    He’s the friend who knew me before I was who I became, who I am today even…when I was unable to return home to my mother’s funeral, he was there. He’s THAT friend <3 I was supposed to see him in June when I was back home for a training, but I had to postpone the training. He lost his battle to cancer when I was supposed to be there. Even if I had been there for the training I wouldn’t have got to see him to say goodbye…the decline was too rapid.

    We are not all destined to have a tomorrow, nor are our relationships.

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