Something Good Always Seems To Come From Something Bad
Throughout my life, no matter what has happened, when the shit hits the fan, which it inevitably does, my dad has always said to me “don’t worry, whatever happens, it’s for your own good.” Of course not everything happens for a reason. But when I look back at many things in my life, something good always seems to come from something bad. Of course, it’s really hard to believe this at that time because navigating the internal journey of loss and adversity is painful as hell. And it sucks. But in the wise words of my mentor Greg Hartle, your temporary circumstances do not have to become your permanent reality.
No Job After Business School, Surfing, and Writing
When I graduated from the MBA program at Pepperdine in 2009, I was at a low point in my life. I had no job lined up and was quickly running out of money. It’s hard to even imagine where I would be right now if that wasn’t the case. Thanks to having no job lined up, two journeys started that changed my life and my career. One of those journeys was as a surfer, the other was as a writer.
Because I had nothing but time, I was able to write and surf nearly every day. I never neglected my job search, but I also didn’t let it consume me. I made great use of that time and planted the seeds for all the work that I’d end up doing nearly 8 years later.
When a friend asked me what I did with my weekends before I became a surfer I said “I don’t know it couldn’t have been that interesting. I don’t really remember it.” Mostly it was nursing a lot of hangovers. But being a surfer changed my health habits drastically.
Something amazing came from something bad.
The Worst Year of my Life and The Best Friend of my Life
2014 was pretty much the worst year of my life. By the end of it The Unmistakable Creative was practically running on fumes. Partners, mentors, friends and fans all seems to have left my life in droves. But it was also what caused me to turn to my one of my surf buddies, Brian Koehn for help. Having built a skateboard company out of his parent’s garage while in high school, he knew what it would take to run a business. Two years later he’s not only my business partner but now one of my best friends. I can’t imagine my life without him in it. From the worst year of my life, I got one of the greatest gifts of my life.
The failure of one creative project and a book deal
At the beginning of 2015, we canceled The Instigator Experience, an event that I had built with my own two hands starting in the pages of one of my notebooks (trailer below).
To have that follow the worst year of my life was a devastating blow to my confidence and morale. It led to a lot of sleepless nights, anxiety, depression and even weight loss. That was in January. By March I was speaking with my editor at Penguin about writing a book and by April she made an offer. Not having an event to plan, gave me the ability to finish a 45,000-word manuscript in 6 months. The failure of one project resulted in the opportunity to pour more my heart and soul into another.
A Resume of Failures
I jokingly say that my resume of failures reads a bit more like a rap sheet thanks to all the jobs I’ve been fired from. But looking back if I hadn’t been fired from all those jobs, I might never have realized that society’s life plan was a negotiable contract and the alternatives to convention and conformity would lead me down a path to greater significance.
From Heartbreak Sometimes We Find Love
The first time I wanted someone to care for me as much as I cared for her, she picked someone else and I tried to talk her out of it. If I had been successful, I wouldn’t have experienced love in the unique way that I have. -Bob Goff, Love Does
Sometime last year, I had a conversation with Bob Goff about what it means to live a noteworthy life. The first girl he fell in love with ended up meeting someone else. And this what he said to me about it
Many times when you have broken relationships whether it’s someone of the opposite sex that you’re in love with or even somebody that you have a deep friendship with that’s gone south, they pop to mind and there’s that sting that still there. I don’t know how to fix that other this idea of a new creation, that we’re this next version of…. I think we’re all amateurs when it comes to loving each other.
If you want to listen to one of the most heartwarming conversations I’ve ever had, be sure to check out my chat with Bob Goff.
People who Let us Down
The other day Somehow I found myself looking at the Linkedin profile of one of my bosses who threw me under the bus on his way out the door at a company I worked for. For a minute, I thought “what an asshole.” And then I thought about all the things that I wouldn’t have in my life right now if he hadn’t done that. And I realized “what a blessing in disguise this guy was.” It’s not like I have to have lunch with him or welcome him into my life with open arms, but the grudge towards him I’ve carried around for years is something I can ditch.
At some point, we have to leave the past behind us where it belongs. Otherwise, it’s a bit like traveling with excess baggage. It slows the rest of our journey down. It impedes progress, evolution, and growth. It’s a bit like walking around with a stone tablet that can never be erased around our neck.
Even though something good always seems to come from something bad, there’s a gap. And it’s learning to live in that gap, in that discomfort that we grow, evolve, learn, and our pain becomes a pathway to greater levels of significance, meaning and accomplishments.
Before You Go…
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
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