In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. – Tom Bodett
Life is rarely just easy, and when it is, it never lasts. Instead of this, we often find tests to pass. If we flunk these big tests that life gives us, we often feel the consequences and need to learn a bit more from those mistakes and do better. Here are the main types of tests that life might present us with.
The first type of test is responsibility. We all have some degree of responsibility, but sometimes, we face an overwhelming amount all at once. Suddenly, we get left in charge. Without expecting it, we are put in a position where we have to answer the challenge.
What do we need to do to pass this test? Accept the responsibility and rise to the occasion. We usually fail the test if we just let it slip. Often, we need to find a way to integrate more responsibility into our lives without letting it dominate every day, instead setting our limits while still rising to the challenge. The responsibility of parenthood, for instance, means putting another person’s interests first, but still being able to take care of oneself enough to keep doing what needs to be done.
An opportunity just above our skill level
Sometimes, the test is not the responsibility but a professional challenge. We are offered an opportunity that stretches our skills and that is just a bit more (or a lot more) than what we are used to. Will we take it?
Usually, the way to pass this test is to rise to meet the opportunity, because in the doing we learn how to achieve something new, a little above of what we new. It helps us flex and stretch our skills.
A person who seems to bring out the worst in us
There are some people who make us grind our teeth and make fists with our hands. They are uniquely annoying or difficult. But these people can provide another way for us to test our mettle. Often, difficult people, those who really set us on edge, showcase elements of our own self or our lives that we dislike or ignore. They might help us realize something that we won’t allow ourselves to do, like express specific emotions or say things as we mean them. When we see others allow themselves such things, it frustrates us, but because we recognize a need or a desire.
Annoying, frustrating, difficult people often hold up a mirror to ourselves. But even if it’s not the case, learning to manage them with grace and tact is a skill that we can increase through this challenge life offers.
A little bit of power
Power is said to corrupt, and we can understand why. When people get power, it can sometimes be hard to resist the allure of using it. If life gives us power, we are tested on our ability to use it successfully and effectively, without abusing it.
Power is a significant test because it can feel so easy to use, just a bit. It drives the person down a slippery slope. It might be having money or having influence over other people’s lives. However, passing the test of power means using it as it was meant to be used rather than abusing it. It also means accepting the responsibility that comes with being in a position of authority.
Being less successful than others
Envy can be a powerful emotion, and being tested by our ability to withstand it is not easy. When we see others doing better (and we do, all the time, on social media, and frequently in real life), it really can put a strain on our confidence and positive emotion. Letting go of envy and focusing on achieving more success is not easy, but we can achieve it by learning how to work through the feeling.
A way of working through envy is by practicing gratitude. Gratitude involves focusing on what we have, not what we lack, and learning to appreciate the people in our lives, our achievements, and more.