By Jay Forte
You didn’t get the promotion you wanted. Your kids didn’t get good grades. Your flight was interrupted by bad weather. Though it may seem like life is working against you, the truth is that it’s just life. How you interpret and use the information in life is up to you. Knowing this, how can you learn to see life as your best teacher?
I believe life really only sends us two things – successes to help keep our resilience, energy and happiness up, and challenges/obstacles/problems to help us learn what we need to do to be better tomorrow. If we can see the events in life as less personal and just events that present us with information, we can more efficiently use the information to be better and move on. However, many of us get stuck in ineffective emotional states.
Let’s look back at the three situations in the first paragraph.
You didn’t get the promotion you wanted. Stop and notice why. What’s not working about your performance that may have influenced the decision? What is one thing the situation tells you about you that can help you improve your performance to lead to greater opportunities tomorrow? Stay calm to learn what life is teaching you.
Your kids didn’t get good grades. Stop and notice why. What’s working and not working in their study habits? What does this information tell you and them about their abilities and interests? What does this tell you about their adaptability and resilience, two critical life skills? How can you help them learn from this to be better tomorrow? Stay calm to learn what life is teaching you.
Your flight was interrupted by bad weather. Stop and notice your reaction. How can you appreciate the fact that life is in constant motion and adaptability is required in order to be successful? What does your reaction tell you about how you handle challenges and disappointments? How can you use this information to be better tomorrow? Stay calm to learn what life is teaching you.
Life is a brilliant teacher. Like with most teachers, it offers both difficult and easy lessons. Though you may look forward to the easy ones, you will always learn more from the difficult ones – the challenges, obstacles and difficulties that force you to think critically – and sometimes creatively – to find a solution you can own to be better tomorrow.
Important Questions from a Coach:
- How will you stop and notice the events of life and your response(s) to them?
- How will you get in the habit of asking yourself, “What is life teaching me here?”
- How will you use today’s life lessons to be better tomorrow?
Life is here to make you better, wiser, more grateful and more amazing tomorrow than you were today. But for that to happen, you need to show up to class.