Change. Most people hate it. We get comfortable in our habits, even if they are unproductive. We like the predictable, the regular, the safe. Change represents the unknown, the unsafe, things that make us worry.
Yet regardless of how we feel about change, one thing is constant: we should always expect the unexpected. I remember hearing this from a pastor years ago. Life is unexpected. We want it to be stable and predictable, but it is rarely that. You plan for a great outdoor event and it rains. You plan to be married for life and you divorce after seven years. You plan to go to your favorite college and you don’t accepted. You plan to live well and you get sick. Life is as it is. Things happen and much of it we don’t control.
I recently read something that helped me to put this into perspective. In the book, The Path, What Chinese Philosophers can Teach Us about the Good Life, authors Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh share that the Chinese philosopher, Mencius, wrote that the world is capricious, unstable and constantly changing.
We want good things to happen to good people and to have things work according to our plans, but to expect this just leads to disappointment. However, consider this: the value in having a capricious and unstable world is that by its very nature, we have the constant ability to making things better.
Though the world may be disappointing at times, these disappointing moments create the opportunity to learn, grow and make an improvement – something to address the disappointment. Imagine if everything always worked out; we would never need to find within ourselves the courage, strength and ability to make the world better. It is in these moments that we see we always have both the ability and expectation to make things better. This even applies to things that do go our way. We can – and should – still ask, what could make this better?
With this new perspective, revisit the situations from above that didn’t go as planned.
- The party that got rained out – By being in the house, your neighbor helped you solve a home repair issue you were struggling with that you would otherwise have never thought to ask about.
- Your unexpected divorce – You meet a most remarkable person who is so much more aligned to your values and life approach.
- Not getting into your first choice college – You build lifetime friends from the second-choice college that was so much better aligned to your personality than the first-choice college you did not get into.
- You get sick – You learned how to meditate, value the moments and care deeply as you healed from your illness.
Life is as it is. Sometimes you like what it sends; sometimes you don’t. Either way, it is life. And the reality is that there is always something that can make it better.
Stop and notice a disappointing event or situation you recently experienced. What did you learn from it? What is something good that did or could come from the disappointment? What change do you need and want to make in your attitude and the way you review and assess things to be more focused on greatness, improvement and success?
Some days are great, others are not. Each of these creates the canvas for you to design how to make things better. You not only benefit from making things better, but you are happier in all circumstances because you focus on the positive instead of the negative.
So, how are you going to make it better for you and those around you?
By Jay Forte
Consider reading Experiencing Emotions