By Jay Forte
Few of us loved spending time in school. The homework, the studying, the tests – not high on most of our lists. But the daily lessons at school weren’t just about the subjects we were learning. School was also teaching us how to learn from the greatest teacher: life.
Life is the ultimate teacher. Day in and day out, life shares lessons with us, each of which serves as a learning event that teaches us to ask what should I do more of? And what should I not do next time?
In learning this, I believe that life sends us two things – successes and challenges.
Successes come to help us learn how to celebrate. Challenges come to teach us how to connect to larger and more significant things in us. Though the successes may feel better, the real lessons in life come from the challenges. It is as we work through those challenges that we can see life as the ultimate teacher.
So how do you learn to welcome the challenges instead of becoming resentful, aggravated, disappointed or frustrated?
- Understand that life is as life is. It isn’t personal when things go or don’t go your way. Life is neither good or bad – it just is. We have been told that good things happen to good people. Sure they do. And sometimes tough things happen to good people. That is how life works. It just comes at you.
- You add the meaning and understanding of what is happening. You choose how to be in and with each event of life. You can choose to resent or accept what happens in life. Choosing to accept or approach life’s events with a positive attitude and outlook does two things. First, it improves this moment, preventing you from seeing yourself as a victim of what is happening. When you focus on the negative, the quality of this moment diminishes. If the quality of your life is made by the quality of each moment – choose to focus on the good in each moment. Second, being upbeat opens you to use your energy to actively learn and grow. Don’t fight with the moments because the more you fight, the more they fight back. Instead, catch and release. Catch and learn from the situation, then release it to make room for more celebrations and more learning.
Life is an epic teacher. And as with teachers, though they may have things for you to learn, you choose whether to learn them. No one can make you learn from life – you have to see that by being open to life on life’s terms – to see and appreciate whatever comes your way to celebrate or learn – you become more fully engaged in life. That is, after all, what life is really about: being fully engaged in each of our moments. Anything else isn’t really living.
Important Questions from a Coach:
- Stop and notice: do you fight with life as it sends you lessons?
- What is one thing you can do today to be more open to life’s lessons?
- How can you look at each moment of life as important and essential to you discovering, developing and living the best version of you?
Consider reading Expect the Unexpected: What’s Your Plan B?