Fall drives were a way for my parents to get my siblings and myself outside of the house when financial circumstances didn’t allow for more extravagant trips or long distance traveling. Thinking back on those drives, I remember being bored as hell and all three of us kids complaining while seeing leaves change colors, stopping at overlooks on the side of the highway, with no real action to speak of during these mini-vacations. Now that I’m 30 and have a family of my own I look at those moments differently. While I technically remember boredom being a main theme on those trips, I don’t feel boredom when I reminisce. I have a deeper insight into the stress my parents may have been feeling to make memories with their children without any funds, due to an overwhelming amount of financial responsibility they assumed when my dad went to med school in the presumable middle of his life, while already having, from what I understand, a successful biomedical company. That insight shifts my view to one of gratitude for the effort my parents put into the family time we had.
Framing those early memories differently is all I’m doing. The time period is the same, the circumstances are the same, and so are all the players. My view, instead of focusing on my initial take on the circumstances, is now focused on the time my parents took to invest in me and their potential mindset while collaborating on this memory. I’m thankful for their opportunistic attitudes and rallying spirits. It’s this paradigm shift that makes me wonder if circumstances are really that important. Granted, there are some really difficult occurrences that are hard to put into perspective; say sexual abuse and terminal illnesses. I’m giving no claim to have an answer for those who’ve suffered such atrocities, nor am I attempting to explain the presence of these situations. I merely believe the experiences that shape us may not be as damning as we allow them to be. Looking at a situation with different eyes can alter your whole world.
If you are relying upon changing circumstances, or the lack of change, to be your answer to life’s trials and tribulations then your surroundings are indeed everything. If you’re success is tied up in your current situation, your career, your body-image, your relationships, you’re now invested in those specific parameters, not in yourself as a whole, and how you value yourself can and will change in an instant, depending upon the day’s events. If today you wrestle with adversity, let’s say a project at work, and strikeout, are you henceforth a failure? If the answer to that question is so obviously “No!” but you are still down on yourself because of the results, look inward a little deeper. Tripping up on something hard doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you are even failing in your current situation. It’s just difficult. Tribulations are built into everyone’s path, so to avoid them altogether would be the exception, not the rule. While others, especially on social media, are out encouraging people to push through the struggle, you don’t often see them sharing about their difficulties in the moment. It’s only after they’ve garnered their desired result.
So in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been dealing with a huge change in my business. Some of the circumstances were in my control and others were wildly out of my hands. My initial reaction was panic. What did I do? I kept moving forward. I put faith in The Lord and chose to believe there was a plan for my life; that the adversity was placed specifically in my path for a reason. Is it crazy? Yeah, it is. But regardless of whom you call God, I caution you away from putting faith in yourself. YOU will always fall short and while those shortcomings can be used to grow you, putting faith solely in yourself can result in you missing out on the chance to be used: to be used for something bigger than yourself, for a much greater purpose.
The big picture is this; the scenery may change, the scenery may stay the same. How does that affect you? Does it? That all depends upon perspective.
When it comes to perspective; do you have the right one?