If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life, it’s this: everyone’s got it all wrong. There’s something that a lot of people are doing wrong, and it has to do with their perspectives. With how they view the unpleasantries of life. Uncomfortable situations, difficult challenges, strained relationships, you name it. Life’s many wonderful hardships.
You see how I said “wonderful”? That’s because they are.
Now before you click off this post, unfollow me, and tell your friends and family that this Jake guy on the internet is crazy, hear me out. What I mean is that people need to learn not only how to react when things go wrong in life, but how to grow from the experience when it’s all said and done. And it’s not easy.
Think of something unfortunate that just happened to you recently.
Anything at all. Think about what happened, how it affected you, how it made you feel. Probably not very good. That’s normal, that’s how you should feel. Now, ask yourself this: What did I learn from the experience?
This is the hard part, but if you ever wish to grow as an individual, it’s a question you’re going to need to get used to answering, because life likes to throw a lot at us for some reason- I guess it thinks it’s being funny (so why aren’t we laughing?).
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re an artist, and you’ve just submitted a painting into a local art exhibit. You know it’s one of your best works yet, and you’re really proud of it, so proud that you think it could even be sold on the first night. You tell your good friend about it who’s seen the painting, but they’re not as convinced as you are. They thought it was “OK”, but nothing deserving of any kind of recognition. During your conversation, they even start to question why you’re even pursuing an artistic career. “It’s a cool hobby,” they say, “but trying to make a living off of it seems like a waste of time.”
That doesn’t sit well with you. You’ve known them for years, and so when you shared your excitement and passion with them, you expected that they’d be there to offer support and encouragement. You’re not happy, you let them know, and you end up losing a good friend in the process, someone you thought you could trust.
You might not see anything positive or beneficial to take away from the experience, but I do, and it’s pretty clear to me. Losing a friend is never fun, but in doing so, in asking yourself what you learned from the experience, you realize this: you need to evaluate who you spend time with, who you surround yourself with. For in life, it’s vital that we surround ourselves with like-minded people, with people willing to support your goals and endeavors, or at the very least, not criticize you and put you down for pursuing something that they don’t understand.
And you can do this after any situation.
Try out for the football team and break your leg? Maybe football’s not for you; try tennis. Fail a math test you know you didn’t study for? Instead of watching Netflix for hours the night before, pick up your book and study. Pop a flat tire on the interstate and have to teach yourself how to change a tire in the rain? Well now you know how to change a flat tire- and that rain is never very helpful.
Like I said, learning from our shortcomings and tragedies isn’t easy, but will absolutely help you grow as a person, and shows a level of maturity and open-mindedness that some people will never master. With every hardship there’s a lesson to be learned, and while it’s never easy to see that when you’re knee-deep in the quicksand of misfortune, once you pull yourself out, once you look back, that’s when you grow.
Got something you’d like to see discussed in a future post? Let me know in the comments!
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