For about 10 days last Summer, an old tennis court in the park across the street from us was turned into a dog park. Our dog, Bella, could not have been happier. Everyday, we'd bring her over to hang out with her friends and run around freely as much as she wanted.
One day, a lock suddenly appeared on the gate to the park and never went away.
We spent a lot of time moping around about how frustrating it is that the lock is there, how perfect it used to be, how great it was for Bella. We took her on short walks, but she never got to really enjoy the outside like she did at the dog park.
Over the past few months I started taking Bella on long walks all over town and throughout the whole park across the street. We both love it and I’ve stopped complaining about the shutdown dog park.
I tell this story because it taught me an important lesson: Circumstances don’t define me, I define circumstances.
In a given day, countless events happen external to us that have a positive or negative effect on our status quo, on what we had planned. But in any single moment, we always have the choice to re-evaluate and make a new plan that accomplishes what we want.
Our ability to achieve a goal or even just be satisfied and happy is within our control because there is always a way to make circumstances work in our favor.
"Everything Happens For a Reason"
Objectively, I just don't know if 'Everything happens for a reason". But, when you take control of your circumstances, it at least begins to feel that way - you make it that way. You manipulate any situation to work in your favor. If there isn’t a reason for something to happen, I make the reason.
Taking Bella on long walks has given me the opportunity to visit my fraternity more, rekindle some old friendships, play on a real piano there everyday and encouraged me to take some time out everyday to enjoy the outdoors. Best of all, my walks are where just about all of my writing spawns from.
Did they close down the dog park for a reason or did I learn to use mental judo to make bad circumstances work in my favor?
Control Your Circumstances by Starting Fresh
What makes this most difficult is an image in our heads of how things should be. How we imagined them to be. The problem comes when these visions are built with old data, like a dog park that no longer exists. Our brains then get stuck in a loop as they try to create and cope with an irrelevant past mental image.
Finding a solution means updating your data, syncing with reality and reinforcing that there's still a way to find a positive outcome.
There always is!
You just need to start fresh and draw a new map.
Don't just read, take action!
- Think about a situation in your life now that is really getting you down. What if you took a deep breath, abandoned how things are supposed to be and accepted how things are? Give it a try.
- Jot down a few ways you can make reality work in your favor instead of pushing against you.
- Can you imagine a future where these circumstances will be vital to greater success?
- Share how you take control of your circumstances and the effects it has on you below!
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