In my last two blogs, I discussed how important strength and resilience are to a happy life. I noted that you can make a conscious choice to build inner strength and resilience that will help you shortcut through pain and suffering. Just knowing that you always pull through adversity can provide a little hope and build your strength. I even provided some affirmations that will help you create a stronger, more resilient self.
Here’s another thought that can help you get through hard times and live a happier, more fun-filled life, spending less time in pain and suffering more time at the beach, metaphorically speaking: “Sometimes life has a better plan for you.”
Many times in my life, I’ve found that things turn out much more differently than I’d anticipated.
For instance, for years, I longed to be a novelist. But after writing three novels and unsuccessfully pursuing publishers, I turned my hand to nonfiction.
And, oh what I ride that’s been. To date, I’ve published 30 books and hundreds of articles — and made a good living writing nonfiction — on renewable energy and green building, for instance. I’ve even published some popular college textbooks that have allowed me to work at home my entire adult life!
As it turns out, I love writing nonfiction. I love “translating” scientific and technological information into clear, understandable and engaging prose for a general audience. It allows me to indulge my love for writing and my ever-curious mind, to seek new information, and earn a decent living.
Clearly, writing nonfiction has been a boon to me.
Clearly, life had a better plan for me.
My life took another huge leap off course at the ripe old age of 20. It was during my senior year in college. I was a pre-med major. I had applied to medical school, but being sure of my chances of getting in and short on money, I only applied to two medical schools, Northwestern and the University of California, Los Angeles. I was going to school in Kansas and was a resident of New York.
As an out-of-stater, I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into UCLA. And, as it turns out, Northwestern University lost my application.
Devastated, I decided to go to graduate school where I studied reproductive physiology. I loved it and am thankful for the experience. During graduate school, I began to study environmental issues. After graduating, I went on to teach at the University of Colorado. There I indulged my passion for the environment and entirely retrained myself. That allowed me to launch a successful writing career focused on environmental issues, then sustainability, and now renewable energy and green building.
Had I been accepted to medical school, I’d have been stuck in the rut, unable to break loose and pursue my greatest passion — the environment. I’d be living in a big city, working myself to death.
Because the admissions department at Northwestern Medical School lost my application, I got a chance to pursue an entirely different path. Life truly had a better plan for me. I was able to live wherever I wanted, writing and researching and pursuing intellectual side trails that have allowed me to create a huge body of work.
The same happens on a small scale, too. My partner, Linda, owns and operates Evergreen Candleworks. One day, one of her suppliers told her they were discontinuing one of her favorite glass jars into which she poured her all-natural soy wax. She was bummed at first, but started looking around for a replacement and — low and behold — she found a glassware that she liked even better.
Rather than sulk and moan, she took action, and found that life had a better plan for her.
Realizing this may help you through adversity. So you lost your job in sales? (That you secretly hated.) Now you can pursue what you really want to do with your life. Maybe life has a better plan for you?
So, your spouse left you for another? You will very likely find a better man or woman to spend your life with.
Think of the possibilities when faced with adversity, when life says no to your plans. Open a few doors and see what’s awaiting you. Life often does have a much better idea for you to pursue.
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Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.