Wednesday, November 05, 2003

When Stupid Stuff Happens

You know, sometimes stupid stuff just happens.

For no seeming rhyme or reason, someone good gets laid off. Or a really great kid is faced with living with a serious heart defect the rest of his life, always wondering if he's going to need another open heart surgery and all the risk and trauma that entails. Or a skilled, top-notch pilot bends a wingtip - for a second time, possibly ending his flying career. Is it bad luck, poor judgment or action on someone's part, karma, or some divine plan for some greater good we can't see... or is it time to get paranoid that somebody's out to get us?

I've held every single one of these opinions at one time or another. Sometimes several at once or at least in rapid succession. Sometimes life just sucks and that's all there is to it. I used to defend my beliefs in this area and in so doing, came to the realization that the justification that makes the most sense to me is that I hold onto whatever belief helps me out the most at the time. Usually my preference is to use my beliefs to help me move forward (see, no whining for me either) so I tend to think in terms of things happening for a reason and I set out in search of it. Hey, it's good for pulling me out of a funk anyway.

Lately, I've started to moderate my thinking further though I'll be honest in sharing that while I can see the destination I'm charting toward I'm definitely not there yet. My new way of thinking goes something like this - The situation is what it is. Whatever complicity I have in getting myself here, I may be able to learn from it but it can't be undone so forgiving myself and finding a way to appreciate where I am is the only remaining action available to me now. Furthermore, given that life sucks (at least on occasion), unless I want to throw in the "no whining" towel (I don't) or continually beat my head against the wall, it's probably a good idea to figure out ways to enjoy life or at least appreciate it even when things don't go the way I want them to.

Maybe you have some strategies that work for you that you'd like to share - if so, please send them to

Accurate or not, treating situations as the result of some cosmic force for greater good is more likely to get you farther and in a healthier state of mind than any of the other options. Try looking for the benefits anyway and see how that changes your perspective.