by Tim Connor, CSP
Many people today struggle with the need to know what will happen tomorrow, next week or even this year. Some have the need to try and manipulate tomorrow or to have life be 'in order' or 'certain.'
I can only tell you that one philosophy which has served me well all these years is: learn to embrace the unexpected and release the expected.
I never thought my life would turn out this way. Some great things I never planned for and many disappointments I never saw coming. How about you? Is your life unfolding exactly the way you want? Planned? Expected? I doubt it. It is probably either turning out better than you thought, or in some ways worse. Life is about uncertainty, adventure, unknowns and surprises. Yes, some of these can be positive while some can be negative. But remember that everyone defines positive and negative by their own perceptions, experiences, standards and parameters. What are some of the uncertainties in life? I don't really need to tell you because I am confident you have experienced some. But here are a few anyway.
- a career change that you didn't anticipate.
- a divorce that you never thought possible.
- a health crisis that you were not prepared for.
- a loss of a loved one or close friend.
- a new relationship at the wrong time in your life.
- a financial challenge that you felt you did not deserve.
- a family problem with children, in-laws, siblings.
There are many others, but for most people they seem to fall within the above list.
There are two ways to live life. Release the struggle to know in advance what your life may bring, or fight life with all of its uncertainty by trying to create a known outcome.
I can only tell you that sooner or later in every life there will be unknowns. That's life, folks. The key is to have a working philosophy and/or life outlook that enables you to get through all of these challenges, adventures and surprises with dignity, peace, balance, faith, courage and inner harmony. I know from personal experience that life can be difficult when one fails to see the big picture in advance. I have had my share of 'troubles' in every area of life, but I have also come to understand that these so-called surprises - in the end - can be a wonderful detour through life.
Lessons come from all directions in life at the strangest times. Generally, we are never ready for failure, adversity, or emotional challenges, but sooner or later life will be asking you some fundamental questions. There are many, but here are just a couple:
Who are you? What do you believe? Who are you becoming? What are you learning? What are you here to do? How are you contributing to others? What do you stand for? What would you die for? What matters most to you?
Your answers to these and other questions will determine the quality of your life, emotional state, success and happiness. Trust me, no matter what you do, learn, accomplish, are worth, or master, sooner or later your life will have its share of adventure, uncertainty and surprise. Learn to accept these as the life experience, rather than feel the need to be 'in control' every minute or day of everything in your life.