Thoughts for Tough Times

1986 was a trying year for me.  My birthday present was a Summons and Complaint from my former law firm’s primary lender suing on a defaulted line of credit.  In August of that year my eldest son Gideon had major hip surgery.  We provided a little red wagon for his first day of school so that he could be transported from class to class notwithstanding a body cast that stretched from his shins to just above his breast bone.  My former law firm had split up and prospects were grim.

Through hard work and divine grace, we were able after seven years to re-pay the dissolved firm’s principal creditors dollar for dollar.  My experience during those tough times is one of the reasons why I have empathy for all those facing trying times now.

I want to give you the benefit of my experience and some of the techniques and strategies that helped me get through those times and emerge from them with my psyche intact.  Today, I and my firm are more successful than we have ever been.

  • Keep your focus on six months to a year from now.  Don’t dwell on where you are now.  You can’t change that.  But what you can do is fully engage in activities that will help improve your condition.
  • Seek information from as many reliable sources as you can.  Be discriminating in how you use that information and what information you use.  But from the many ideas you hear there will be one or two good ones that will help a great deal.
  • Accept the kindness of strangers and even more the kindness of friends with grace and appreciation.  Recognize the good things that happen to you and be grateful for them.
  • Set some time aside for yourself and your family each week and make that a mini-vacation and time away from your troubles.[1]
  • Set aside some time for fun just because.  It will reinvigorate you and recharge your batteries.  Time away from the problems will allow your subconscious mind to think of solutions that might not otherwise have occurred to you.
  • If you are dealing with creditors, make sure they first hear from you about your inability to fulfill a commitment and do not learn about that failure from the failure itself.  And, if you make a subsequent commitment, make sure that you fulfill it.  Try your best to keep the first commitments you make.  It will build goodwill that will be a reservoir you can tap into when you are unable, not because of any fault of your own, to keep a subsequent commitment.
  • Above all, keep your sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep your health up, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and maintain a good attitude.

I wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season. May the New Year bring us the fruits of our labors, better times, and warmth and joy from our family and friends. And, please contact me if I can help you or someone you know who is facing a financial or legal challenge.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein,

[1] It is during these dark days that my family began to observe the Sabbath.  We all agree that our continuing to carve out a day for family, fun, learning and spiritual pursuits was one change that helped us through the tough times.


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