Adult Living, Advanced Studies: Fools, Meaning & Success
“Challenges make life interesting, however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
In this quote by Mark Twain, we find his usual wit and wisdom. Part of Adult Living, Advanced Studies, is to be able to appropriate feelings in the moment and view them within a larger context; temper harsh or hurtful comments before we blurt them out; and find the deeper meaning within life’s challenges, based not on how we react to them, but rather how we thoughtfully choose to respond.
It is about going beyond what is obvious and looking for that which is significant. As long as we are breathing, we will have challenges. Life is both an incredible gift and a four-letter word. So much depends upon the perspective we bring to every challenge. How we choose to view it will determine just how much meaning and value we will find. We can choose to stay an emotional caterpillar or break free and become a butterfly.
In a training by Jack Canfield, he talked about how he deals with things that seemingly go wrong. He explained that whenever something occurs that isn’t what he wanted or wasn’t what he expected, he has disciplined himself to immediately say, “That’s good.” Then he sets about trying to find the value in it.
It has taken practice but I now do this as well, and the results are remarkable. What I have come to realize is that we can take the easy way or the meaningful way in life. We can avoid or embrace what we encounter along the trail. The effect which something has on us is in direct relationship to how we view it.
I think we all know people who seem quite content being unhappy; they seem more comfortable squeaking than changing. Although it was years ago, I remember a brief conversation with a pastoral counseling colleague. She used to say, “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” And although I had heard the expression before I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant when she said it. I now realize that at that time in my life I didn’t allow myself the luxury of not suffering them, gladly or otherwise.
Today I choose to spend time with upbeat people. People who have a similar mindset, who work hard, care deeply and understand the treasures of cultivating a positive mindset. I love working with people who have integrity, admirable values, and are entrepreneurial, philanthropic and committed to helping others and to living their dreams.
Recently I had an encounter with a rude adult who doesn’t control her emotions or her words. I made it clear that at this point in my life I choose not to freely associate with individuals like her. Some time back I came to a cross-roads and made a turn in the trail.
It occurs to me that while I love people and am passionate about helping those who want to better their lives and become their personal best, I have little patience for individuals who are unwilling to work on improving themselves or their results. I guess these days, I don’t suffer fools gladly either. It’s quite freeing.
There is no doubt that there will be challenges as long as we’re here. The question is how we will deal with them; and whether or not we will find their meaning, glean some value, stay within our own integrity and allow it to change us for the better.
Perhaps the challenge with a fool or an unkind person is to not respond in kind, but rather to find the good in them; whether or not we decide to interact with them in the future. I believe that most rude, self-centered people are crying out for help. But some are also only willing to cry and not to actually receive any counsel, or change in any way. That is their right. Just as it is my right not to deal with them.
It is important when we have experienced insult, hurt, loss or betrayal that we allow ourselves to grieve, be angry or process it. Then it is equally important that we move on. The same is true when we make mistakes. If we learn from our misfortunes, mishaps and mistakes, they then become valuable lessons. It is hard enough to endure something that shakes us to our core, let’s not lose the lesson too.
The key is learning to take responsibility: for ourselves, our actions, our choices (or lack of them), and our lives. This is something fools never do; and it is a sure way to become impoverished.
Staying stuck is a result of blaming someone, anyone, or everyone else for our situation. Abundance comes from accountability and taking action. Success comes from realizing how empowering it is to take responsibility for ourselves and our choices. Living by default is deadening; living by choice and intention is enlivening.
Incorporating the meaning that can be found in overcoming challenges enables us to become a better person in the process. In Proverbs 14:7 it is written, “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
Jim Rohn says, "We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation."
I know way too many people who wait, postpone, defer, deny and make excuses until they are desperate. My hope and prayer for everyone is that we embrace change through the wonder and power of inspiration.
As Rohn also states, "Maturity is the ability to reap without apology and not complain when things don't go well." It is not easy, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Follow these principles with an open mind and heart & you will change your life results.
A wise & wonderful man, whose work changes lives.
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