Have you ever trusted someone only to have them disappoint you?
Have you ever failed to close on an important business deal?
Have you ever been in the middle of a great day, only to have drama spring up out of nowhere?
Have you ever asked for something and been told “no”?
Have you ever taken a risk and fallen flat on your face?
Have you ever tried ANYTHING that didn’t work?
Do I sound like a commercial that’s getting ready to sell you something for the low low cost of $19.95?
The unanticipated life
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then welcome to life. Life is a place where the unanticipated happens and I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. Our experience of the unanticipated is not inherently problematic. The good and the bad of it all comes down to how we choose to process the experience. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re already familiar with two personal convictions I have:
1) Accepting disempowering beliefs leads to a quality of life that is unhealthy, unproductive, and unfulfilling.
2) Cultivating empowering beliefs leads to a creative, peaceful, and satisfying experience of well-being.
But today, I’d like to deviate a bit from my usual efforts at dismantling negative beliefs and defending empowering ones.
Today’s lesson is a non-lesson
My lesson today is simple:
Sometimes there’s no lesson to be learned.
Not getting what you want doesn’t ALWAYS mean there’s something you need to change or figure out.
Life is a process and everything isn’t meant to work out the first time around. Analyzing a situation or working extra hard isn’t going to change that simple fact.
No amount of therapy, pills, self-help courses, friends, advice, prayers, motivational speeches, sermons, effort, or thought will save you from the risks, mistakes, failures, and so-called “set-backs” that are built into the life experience.
What I didn’t learn from an experiment with failure
Back in college, as part of an ice breaker group routine at a retreat, some friends and I were faced with the difficult task of physically carrying each member of a group to a certain location without anyone’s body touching any of the objects that were deemed “out of bounds.” My friends and I figured out the perfect way to adjust our physicality and maneuver our bodies so we could outwit the rule makers and successfully accomplish the task. Our performance was stunningly excellent. Everyone was impressed with the way we navigated around inconveniently placed obstacles without letting them touch us. Then, at the very end, we failed.
Because our time hadn’t run out, we still had a chance to start from the beginning and attempt completion. So we all huddled up and went into strategy planning mode. Everyone threw out a few suggestions for what we could do differently. After about 5 minutes of this, one of the group members said “hey, I think our approach was fine. It just didn’t work that time. Maybe we should just get out there and try the exact strategy again. We did and we succeeded.
Here’s the lesson I learned: There was no lesson to be learned from our failure. We had a great plan. It just didn’t work the first time around. That’s simply how life is.
Maybe you’re doing just fine. Perhaps the only thing you need to do is not stop.
That’s my two cents.