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Every day brings surprises.  We expect one outcome and get another.  Decisions that are supposed to have one result have a whole set of unintended consequences.  When this occurs, how often do you resist what has happened, and protest (in your mind or out loud) that it wasn't supposed to go that way?

What if you look at it differently?  What if you consider that what happened is exactly what was supposed to happen?  Then every event becomes an equal opportunity for learning and growth.  Here's a question that will help you try it:

What can I learn from this?

Imagine using this approach when...

  • A method that you're using to get a task done takes twice as long as you expected.
  • Ingredients in a recipe don't go together in a palatable way.
  • People who you thought would click simply can't work well together.

All of these situations (and countless more like them) could be considered failures.  Yet, each provides learning opportunities as diverse as time management, food chemistry, and human interactions.  And they give you a chance to learn about your capacity to handle adversity and challenge.

This approach also yields benefits when looking at positive surprises, such as getting a promotion that you thought would go to someone else.  Rather than second guessing the decision, use this as a chance to realistically look at and acknowledge your contributions.

Enormous energy gets tied up by resisting what is; instead, choose to be curious about what you can learn from events in your life and use it as a springboard for even more growth.

Liz Reyer, President RCC - Posted January 7, 2008
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