Life is made up of two things as I see it, expectations and decisions. Life is rough every day waiting to see if your expectations are met or if you made good decisions.
My favorite rationalizations of the possible outcomes, good or bad, center on two phrases when I explain to my friends, family or co-workers why something happened and how to deal with it.
My favorite is that life follows a pattern of hills and valleys. One day, your on top of the world riding a high and loving life. The next day, you might be in the pits of hell suffering a severe disappointment after a poor decision comes back to haunt you or that promotion you thought you so richly deserved went to the other guy. I have perfected the speech that goes along with it. In it’s own way, it levels the hills and valleys into a straight line path from where you are to where you want to be. The highs are taken with a healthy slice of humble gratitude while the lows are accepted as a reality that no one can escape. They happen.
My second phrase is more pragmatic and earthy. It’s a common phrase used in to convey many meanings … “shit happens.” It is not realistic to think you can make every outcome go the way you want it to go. You have to expect the unexpected and accept it with grace and humility. Life is not predictable and failure is an asset in improving your next effort to succeed. There are many leaders that will tell you that you can’t win until you’ve learned how to fail. One particular scene from a TV series, Burn Notice, has the star running out of a building screaming, “did not go as planned” as the building explodes behind him. Such is the story of life.
Both of my favorite phrases to mitigate disaster and disappointment feed the need to always stay positive in the face of adversity. Always do your best in whatever your lot in life is but realize it’s not always a level playing field you’re on. Learn from your missteps and plot a better strategy.