This is the time of year when we reflect on our completed projects and accomplishments and consider future goals and aspirations. I’ve listened to some amazing stories of successfully executed ventures and challenging goals triumphantly overcome and completed. These are all stories and accomplishments to cheer for, acknowledge and congratulate. Still, amidst the kudos, I’ve also listened to conversations of missed goals and lost opportunities. Sometimes life deals a difficult, if not downright unfair, deck of cards.
We’ve all been there at some time, and certainly can identify with others who have not quite landed where they planned; the child that lost a parent, the parent that lost a child, the economy that eliminated an income stream, the herniated disc that stole two months of your life, the one grade that thwarted graduation, the team that didn’t quite perform as expected, or quit(!), and the proverbial 10 pounds that just never went away while other things, like hair in unwanted places, weirdly appeared(!) – go figure. No, life is not fair. I’ve listened to a lot of these stories over the past few days. While some were exalting in their accomplishments, others were beating themselves up over goals not accomplished. Life is unpredictable and crazy and unfair.
I’ve found my heart reaching out for those who did not reach their goals this year, with these thoughts. While we can’t change our reality, we can use our brain to change how we process the world, and that in turn changes how we react to it. Much has been written on the subject of happiness and scientific research documents the benefits of purposefully focusing on happiness, not as a result of achievements, but as a requirement for creating success. (Read The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor.)
OK, so we may not have had the best platform, home life, upbringing, training. We may not have had mentors, guidance. Some of us were not planted in the fertile soil of a carefully tended garden and nurtured along every way. Indeed, sometimes in nature, the seeds that get accidentally sown, that fall upon a rock of barely any soil, these then cling to life with a vigor and strength that surprises and inspires us all.
I’m not dismissing the value of goals. Indeed, research and studies have shown that those who have written goals are definitely more successful in life. What I am saying is not to take a temporary de-railing as a final indictment. Blooming where you’re planted means being happy in spite of, and regardless of setbacks.
One of my favorite quotes is by former football coach Mike Ditka who said, “Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal”. Life is an obstacle course. Each obstacle is a lesson – to bloom where you’re planted and move on to the next season.
This year as you survey your past and your future, be happy for the season where you are, wherever that may be. Be excited about the fact that you are indeed here to enjoy this rich experience we call life on earth. Be all you can be right where you are now, and wherever your path leads you, remember to bloom right where you’re planted.