“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

On occasion, we may tell ourselves that the problems we are currently facing are permanent and unending.  This would be like a seed saying, “I’m a seed.  Anyone can look at me at me and see that.  I’m round.  I’m hard.  I’m a seed.  There’s a severe drought.  The world is parched and this is exactly who I am and who I always will be.”

A wise, giant cottonwood on the edge of the field might say,  “You just wait.  You are going to grow into a corn stalk that’s six feet tall.  You are going to proudly wave in the wind.” 

But the seed is so into being seedy, that it just laughs, “What are you on Buster?  Can’t you see that I am, and will forever be, a seed?  What you see is the diameter and circumference of my life, right here.  This is me in all my glory, or lack thereof.” 

The cottonwood considers the seed’s words and sagely proclaims, “What you lack is confidence that you are designed to become more than you are now, confidence in the miracle of growth that flows through you.”

OK let’s cut to the chase–enough of this sweet corn story about a seed who doesn’t believe he can be anything more.  During these interesting times, we may at times feel like that corn seed.  So many people are getting sick.  If you are not already, you might be next.  Or your family.  Or your friends.  Yes, this scary stuff.  The economy is not good.  Unemployment.  Global Warming.  Political Waring.  Peaceful protests!  Looting!  Hurricanes! Fires!  Pain!  Pain!  Pain everywhere! 

Yes!  It’s so easy to feel like that corn seed and express that corn seed’s certainty that this is all there is.  That this is not only the new normal, but the new always

But do we know this for certain? 

The world has gone through dark times throughout its history and those are often followed by transformative times of growth. The Dark Ages were followed by the Renaissance.  The horrors of the Great Depression and World War II was followed by an epic post war boom in the 1950’s.

Consider the difference between living in the 1910’s and the Roaring 20’s.  An article on History.com puts it this way-

“Somehow, despite a global flu pandemic that killed 675,000 Americans in 1918 and 1919, and a depression that gutted the economy in 1920 and 1921, the United States not only recovered but entered into a decade of unprecedented growth and prosperity.”  The article goes onto say, “The Roaring Twenties deserves its name—the U.S. economy grew by 42 percent from 1921 to 1929.” 

Title- “When World War I, Pandemic, and Slump Ended, America Sprung Into the Roaring Twenties

Imagine if in 1918 or even the middle of 1920, a person had only seen a “hard seed reality,” shook their head and said, “You SEE!  Nothing is EVER going to get better with the state of the world!  Since everything with the pandemic and economy is so bleak, I’m going to close up my business, and try to survive by doing odd jobs. By 1925, I bet that person would be telling themselves, “If only I have stuck with it just a little longer…”

Personally, we also sometimes go through heavy times, irregardless of what is happening in the news.  The darkest time of my life was in seventh grade when my outlook on everything was so miserable that I attempted to take my own life.  Luckily, I found the courage at the last minute to call for help. I remember the one of the first people to comfort me after that call just kept telling me, “Spring will come. Spring will come. Spring will come.”

If you are going through a dark time now, know that even though it may be so hard to believe right now that better times will return, they will.  Spring always follows winter, but the caveat is to get to spring we have to persevere through winter.

I don’t blame the corn seed in the story above for having difficulty imagining life as more than a corn seed.  We can spend our days imagining how much worse it may get before it gets better. When we find our minds full of these dreary thoughts, it’s so important to remember that what may happen, has not actually happened.  

If we can use our energy to weave tales of doom and end times, we can also use our energy to imagine the hard seed that life feels like right now sprouting into something better, even something far better than our present daily reality.

May we have the patience of a wise, tall cottonwood to allow our lives to grow into the magnificence they can become.

Hard times grow into something better.

Keep persisting.

JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment.  He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.

He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.

His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.