Bad is never good until worse arrives. This maxim – reversed - is useful in unpromising situations. You could make things even tougher and then, get back to what was before.
This reminds me of a story:
Nasreddin the Mullah was dispensing much respected wisdom to the gent of Aksehir. The needy and the perplexed found light in his simple, deep words and the rich preferred to listen to his sermon rather than feel the bite of his sharp tongue.
A man came to complain about his terrible poverty:
“It is unbearable” he said, “I live with my wife, five kids, grand mother and grandpa in the one and only noisy room of a small hut and we must feed, all of us, mainly on the milk of my unique scabby goat. I am desperate, something must be done! What to do Mullah?”
Nasreddin listened with his usual compassion, pondered for a while and then said:
“This is a serious situation; we shall do one thing at a time. Go home and take the goat into the house. Feed it carefully and keep it there day and night. Come back to me in one week from now.”
The man did as he was told. He returned after one week of misery:
“Mullah, this is the bottom! The goat munched my slippers and soiled everything. It sleeps in grandfather’s lap with its hooves on my wife’s pillow. We all got bruised. The stink keeps us awake at night and we can’t even talk to each other, such is the racket. This must end before we run away, all of us.”
“I see,” said Nasreddin. “This will stop right now! Take the goat out of the house and come to me again in one week to advise what happened.”
Another week passed and the poor man came again.
“How is it now?” asked the Hodja.
“I must say that after taking the goat out of the house we felt much better”.
“Excellent!” congratulated Nasreddin. “Go on like this. You can see things are improving.”