When life’s adventures fall apart… change your perspective.
A while ago I was visiting my son in San Antonio, Texas to watch him play baseball. Since he works 10-12 hours per day, our time to visit is limited. So in order to use up a lot of free time, I plan to make these kinds of trips Adventures.
For this one, I planned to spend most of my time developing my blog site as well as do some sight-seeing and drawing/sketching around the Alamo. In addition, I booked a reservation in an old hotel (almost 100 years old). It sounded like fun.
MISHAPS: The Adventure Falls Apart
Things didn’t go as planned. First, my hotel was rather “tired”; actually, it was horrible. Easy fix. I paid my $75 early departure fee and checked into a new “old hotel” with a truly grand lobby, old and delightfully refurbished with lots of shops and places to eat. And the same price! It looked great. As it turns out, however, although the lobby was great, the room was tiny and terribly noisy. First mishap.
The next mishap was traffic. My first night was the last night of a 3 week San Antonio Festival. The baseball game was over around 10:00 PM—so was the festival. When I got into town it took 40 minutes to drive the final 3/10’s of a mile to my hotel. Second mishap.
Third mishap (and most frustrating): As I began to work on my blogging site my computer caught a virus and completely shut down my internet. My major business passion goal for this trip totally fell apart. This came after being able to spend only 10 minutes with my son after nearly 16 hours of travel, changing hotels, watching his team lose and then fighting traffic…
That was it. I’d had it. I was tired, frustrated, disappointed and depressed. At that time I hated this trip. My first thought was to forget the whole thing and just fly home the next day. In other words, give up!
CHANGE PERSPECTIVE: From Mishap to Opportunity
I went to sleep ticked off. When I woke I thought more about it and realized that what I had just experienced was quite simply, LIFE. A recovery group I know is fond of the phrase “live life on life’s terms.” Personally, I prefer to live life on God’s terms.
I decided to do what I’ve been reading about in the Tao and in my prayer books: take the serene approach by accepting where I’m at mentally and physically, and then turn failure into an opportunity. Yes, an opportunity to change my entire perspective and my expectations.
After the festival ended, the traffic was gone, I still had my son and still had the Alamo. But instead of developing my site I decided to write blogs. I changed my perspective and turned what I thought was “a ruined Adventure” into a great one.
It required me to make a conscious choice to CHANGE MY PERSPECTIVE. I needed to 1) Change my attitude, and 2) Change my actions.
You might have noticed that I used the phrase “conscious choice.” It’s a concept that has been a part of my life for years. “I” get to be the one to decide what is good, what is bad, what needs to be changed and what doesn’t.
It’s like St Francis’ Serenity Prayer: “God, give me willingness to accept the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
CONSCIOUS CHOICES: How I Salvaged My Adventure
As I already said, I decided that I needed to view all the mishaps as an opportunity—an opportunity to change what I had thought my Adventure would look like into an Adventure I could actually have. So, I…
- Changed My Attitude. This required me to implement all that I have studied, talked about with friends, and have taught.
- First I had to accept life on God’s terms, not mine. My preconceived ideas weren’t going to happen. God has something different planned. It was actually an opportunity.
- Next, I needed to find serenity in my circumstances. Sometimes this can be very hard. But with the help of God, or some power greater than myself, and with the teachings of the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, The Tao de Ching, I needed to let go of what I wanted and accept what I was given.As it turned out, what I was given was better than what I had planned. The truth is, I am not very technically capable of building a site. It would have been a huge waste of time. I needed my partner with the technological expertise to help me with it.
- Finally, after accepting my circumstances, I could view them as an opportunity for a new Adventure—an Adventure made up “on the go.”
- Change My Actions. I prepared myself for doing some new things, some preplanned things, BUT… expecting different results.
- Instead of building a site, I wrote. I actually wrote 5 blogs.
- I went to the Alamo, found a bench and spent a few hours drawing.
- I changed rooms—again—and discovered a quiet delightful setting.
- I still went to evening baseball games and I spent quality time with my son.
Except for my first day of chaos and disruption, it was a totally delightful trip, . But it required me to change my perspective. I had to accept the opportunities I was given and make them golden.
So, when was the last time you changed your perspective about something and then turned lemons into lemonade? Tell your story.