Middle of the week. How is everyone doing? Last post we discussed the importance of setting a goal and having direction in our lives. We can have the best of direction and intentions and life can throw some pretty big tests at us! That can bring many of us down. What can we do to prevent life’s tests from stealing our motivation and inspiration from us? I suggest 2 things. Definition and putting them to use. We will look at each of them so you can put them into action in your life, starting today!

The first one is definition. What exactly is a test? It is a review of how sharp a certain skill or knowledge is. In other words, it lets us know where we stand at the moment. Life’s tests are no different. When they say that someone “Tests our patience“, all it really means is they are seeing how strong our patience muscles are. Life can test our health, our fitness, our relationship and a million other aspects of our lives. It will let us know if our skills are satisfactory, need a little work or if we have no idea what we are doing. Contrary to how it may feel, none of these results is better or worse than the other. They all can be used to serve us.

This brings us to our second way in which we can prevent life’s tests from bringing us down – we can put them to work for us. Nobody likes failing a test. I still remember when I stayed up all night helping a friend with his chemistry exam. By the time we were supposed to get to mine, he had went home and I have very little cerebral energy left. The end result? My friend received a B+ on his paper, and I get the letter that follows ‘E’ in the alphabet. It felt terrible, but it did provide some valuable information. First, you should always make sure you work on your own paper before your brain is running on fumes. Second, I should have not waited until the last minute to study. It showed me that I had very little knowledge on the chemistry topic my paper was on.

There is one other way is which life’s tests can serve us. It was brought home to me from a scene in the movie Young Guns. This was a western from the 1980s. In it, some outlaws are trying to convince Billy the Kid, played by Emilio Esteves, to escape to Mexico because of the danger the law that was chasing them provided. Billy the Kid goes on to explain to them that they have to test themselves every day so they stay sharp and alert. We may not have a posse chasing us or have to look out for the quick draw of an outlaw, but our tests in life accomplish pretty much the same thing. The more we get outside of our comfort zones, the sharper our minds and skills remain. When life becomes routine and safe, we can become lazy and our skills lax. Therefore, in a unique way, we should be grateful to the tests we face in life. They are helping to keep our skills sharp and us growing and evolving.

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