“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
― Allen Saunders
This past weekend I volunteered at my alma mater and gave a campus tour to a couple dozen incoming freshman. There was a young man in a wheelchair in the group who chatted with me all morning and never stopped smiling. He had a positive energy about him that was absolutely contagious. At the end of the tour I found out he had a scholarship to play basketball before a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He told me, “It didn’t ruin my life, it just changed my circumstances. I’m happy to be here with you right now, with so many opportunities in front of me.”
His positivity simply blew me away. And honestly, we could all use a bit more of his sentiment.
We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned so we can make the best of the life that’s waiting for us.
Next time things don’t go your way, remember this…
- You will be changed by what happens to you, but you don’t have to be reduced by it.
- Flexibility in life is crucial. Sometimes the best moments happen unplanned and the greatest regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.
- It’s our own thinking that holds us back more than anything else. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box.
- The discontent and frustration you feel is entirely your own creation.
- Unexpected events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Emotional resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is. Thus, the only real problems in your life are your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds. (Read Loving What Is.)
- All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. Your mind is that candle, and it’s up to you to keep it lit.
- True strength is when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.
- Many experiences are inherent in life – change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, and losses of all kinds – but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events can cause heartache and stress, but heartache and stress pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies and sustains these emotions while it simultaneously ignores the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that also exist. When we dwell on these positive states at least as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives become far more fulfilling.
- You are stronger than your sadness. Say it out loud: “I will be stronger than my sadness.”
- One of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life? Right after the reality of a big disappointment.
- Sometimes it takes a little heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see that we are far more capable, and worth so much more, than we were settling for.
- Stepping onto a brand new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining stuck in a situation which is no longer exists, or never did.
- Good luck comes to those who create it. Good luck comes to those who take a positive approach to every challenge and opportunity.
- Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. There’s a big difference between the two. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Wonderful gifts are rarely wrapped the way we expect.
- Great opportunities are often disguised as problems, and always begin one step outside of our comfort zone.
- The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. What we achieve too easily, we often regard too lightly. Think about it – it’s scarcity that gives everything its value. The most successful among us are those who can smile in trouble, gather strength from distress and grow.
- Life will inevitably surprise you again… in some unimaginable way. So at the very least, don’t assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now. You aren’t. Life changes every single moment, and so can you.
All details aside, have a little faith that the universe has a plan for you, and it’s all being revealed in the right time frame. Something you will eventually learn through all your ups and downs is that there are really no wrong decisions in life, just choices that will take your life down different paths. Sometimes you must get hurt in order to grow, or lose in order to gain. Sometimes the lesson you need most can only be learned through a little pain.
Be OK with all this. Life is so much more fun when you’re rolling with it. Next time you’re faced with a harsh disappointment, tell yourself:
You have been mislead, lied to, hurt, doubted, talked down to, made fun of, beaten up and at your wits end. I commend you for the fact that you’re still standing. Your courage speaks volumes. I know your struggle and the pain you’ve endured. You are more than you give yourself credit for. Remember, nothing can keep you down and no one can steal your joy without your permission. Don’t give in; continue to stand tall and love yourself first. You are appreciated, and you are growing. Keep going!”
The floor is yours…
Which reminder above resonated the most with you? What other empowering reminders help you push forward when you’ve been let down and disappointed? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Heather West