Lessons from Winter

For an untrained eye, what was going on outside was scary. For Tommy, who was 10, it sure looked like a lot of snow and wind but nothing to really worry him. Flipping the hood of his ski suit over his head, and wrapping his scarf around his neck, Tommy said out loud: “Mom? I’m going outside to play hockey with the neighbors, in the street!” From afar, with an almost joyful voice, his mom replied: “Enjoy yourself! (…) Don’t forget to be back for dinner!” As if she was used for her son to go play outside on a stormy winter day. “I won’t. Bye!” replied back Tommy.

A cold winter tests people’s character in many ways. Just like a hot summer does.

Its constant temperature changes. The extended number of days it lasts, as a season. The different impacts it has on people physique and spirit. From a simple chill to a full-fledged flu. From the initial joy of seeing the first snowfall of the season, to the demoralizing thoughts on the last storm before spring. Getting through winter can be challenging. Very.

You need to demonstrate some judgment and resourcefulness. To find and wear the right pieces of clothing, according to how extreme (or not) the conditions are outside.

You’ve got to be creative and good at solving problems, as well. When all your Plan-A can’t be execute on the days you can’t skip going places in town. Because Mother Nature isn’t “on your side” at that moment.

Being able to adapt to a difficult situation, and willing to make extra efforts are also important. If you only consider the nutrition part of living through a cold winter. As we normally need to eat more hearty meals – in winter – than during a (hot) summer.

 

WHAT WINTER CHALLENGES PEOPLE ON

You can always decide to skip winter for a while. Go where life is easier and the climate is less exhausting – physically and mentally – sort of speak.

Yet, it won’t stop the cold season from coming back where you normally spend the rest of the year. Whether you want it or not. So, avoiding winter completely becomes pretty hard, on the long haul.

Even more so, avoiding what winter really challenges each and every one of us on: our willingness to make choices.

Choices about ourselves. As well as about what we want to become.

Do I want to make it through winter and, over all, try to get the best out of the situation? Or do I want to do as if winter didn’t exist, just suffer through it and live with the consequences.”

A questioning that mild weather conditions can’t set off. Because they don’t make you and I, or anyone else, feel uncomfortable.

This dilemma becomes insightful or who we are, as people, when we replace the word “winter” with either “laziness”, “self doubt” or “fear of failure”, for instance.

Because it highlights a similar test of character that we all experience at some point, during a year.

Do I want to make it through (my) fear of failure and, over all, try to get the best out of the situation? Or do I want to do as if (my) fear of failure didn’t exist, just suffer through it and live with the consequences.”

The end result is the same as during a cold winter; we have to make choices.

Choices about ourselves. As well as about what we want to become.

 

WHAT YOU HAVE VERSUS …

Whatever goal we want to achieve, it always requires a set of personality traits and skills. Like patience (trait) and problem-solving (skill). At times, it’s possible to feel that we don’t have what it takes.

This is, if we only consider what we have inside us.

It’s pretty hard to make an accurate inventory when the storage space you’re supposed to look into is pitch-black – like our inner self is – because there’s no light bulb and switch installed.

A better place to look at, then, is where you can actually see something; in the things you do daily or regularly.

Noticing what decisions you made – and what it required to get there – becomes way much easier to do.

More importantly, it tells you the kind of character you have, at a given moment.

Winter can be a very challenging season to get through. It can also be a great teacher. To help you build the kind of person, of difference maker you want to be.

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Photo by: Philippe Kammerer

Design by: Di Mellon

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