The human spirit is incredibly resilient. Despite hearing countless stories and seeing the proof in those who have “been there, done that,” we still believe that when we set off to pursue our passions, things will go exactly as planned.
We feel invincible to the odds that things may go differently than how we imagined. But, no matter how much plotting, planning or research we do, the journey will inevitably look different from the set-in-stone ideas we had regarding how we’d get there.
The beauty and challenge of life is that the dots don’t connect while you’re looking forward. Life is speckled with events, challenges and rewards that can sometimes seem nonsensical. And, when we don’t get what we want, even things that could ultimately be for the better, it can be disappointing.
But, there are some serious upsides to having life throw curveballs at you. Here are just a few of the many benefits of not getting exactly what you want:
1. You develop grit.
Talent, intelligence and vision are attributes anyone would like to have, but if you don’t have the perseverance to relentlessly pursue your vision, all the talent in the world would serve no purpose.
Your ability to persevere will land you opportunities to showcase your natural abilities. It's far more dependable than “luck” -- when it comes to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, that is.
2. You redefine success.
A corner office, a Grammy award or a book deal may seem like surefire achievements to let you know you’ve “made it.” But, when those milestones are hard to come by, you learn to appreciate even little victories: a raise at your job, a song you wrote that made a friend cry, a publisher agreeing to a meeting with you, etc.
Ultimately, the big things are composed of little things, so each stepping stone will seem like it carries far more weight than you probably imagined.
3. You learn to seek a feeling, rather than a “something.”
Often, we overestimate what or how much it would take to make us feel happy, successful or safe. And ultimately, whether it’s through money, recognition or health, that’s what we’re all after. You don’t necessarily want your dream job; you likely just want to be as happy as you imagine you would be if you had your dream job.
And sometimes, when we recognize what we want to feel rather than what we want to have, we allow ourselves to be fulfilled in ways we never would be expected.
4. You have a chance — and permission — to change your mind.
We can spend so much time and energy focusing on one possible outcome that we forget why we even wanted it at all. Sometimes, being pointed in another direction provides the opportunity and affirmation we need to know that it’s okay to re-evaluate and start again.
5. You become more creative.
When you really want something, you won’t take no for an answer, no matter how many times you hear it. Not getting what you want the first time leads you think outside the box and go off the beaten path to get to your ultimate goal, making you not just successful, but also incredibly innovative.
6. You no longer fear the worst-case scenario.
One of the best gifts in not getting what you want is that it won't end your world. When you’ve already faced the worst-case scenario, you'll be bolder in what you will ask for or go after.
7. Your chances of inspiring someone else are far greater.
Winning the lottery of life seems to be a tempting option, but when you have to work for your dreams and others see you making them come true, you become a role model.
You allow your journey — the ups, downs and everything in-between — to serve as the inspiration that someone else needs to get what he or she wants out of life.
8. You learn to trust people.
It’s often said that there’s no such thing as a self-made success because of all the effort and investments others have to make for you to get you there — and it’s true.
When you don’t get what you want, the invitation is there to pull away from people. But, those who are committed to success know that leaning on others is the quickest way to get up after a fall. And, it's the surest way to ultimately “make it.”
9. You find out who you are.
It’s easy to be positive, generous and fun when you’re not worried, but who are you when you face the darkest possibilities that you might not get what you want, after all?
Finding out who we are gives us the opportunity to build on our strengths and nip our weaknesses in the bud, before the stakes are too high and there’s much more to lose.
10. You get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Not getting what you want, whether something big or small, pushes you out of your comfort zone. Ultimately, that's where you have to get comfortable living to make a noticeable difference in your life or in the world.
11. You learn to work SMART.
A roadblock can slow us down long enough to recognize the surplus of energy we sometimes devote to working hard, but not working smart. The downtime you get from a “no” can help you re-strategize and re-approach a challenge with a new perspective.
12. You learn to use negativity positively.
Anger, frustration and fear are all emotions that can be seriously toxic to your success, wellbeing and relationships. But, when you don’t get what you want, you learn to use anger and turn it into drive.
Frustration can turn into vision, and fear can turn into courage. These are emotions that reflect growth and can be used productively.
13. You get a story.
At the end of your life, it won’t be the times you won that are the most interesting, inspiring or exciting. Someday, it may very well be the struggle that possesses the sweetest part of your success and the stories you want (and are asked to tell over and over again).
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It