How does life affect you?

Flint hopped on his three legs, looking around for rabbits to chase. He had been knocked down by a car last week. As a result, one of his legs was crushed and had to be amputated. He had always lived his life vicariously. In fact, the reason for his accident was that he was chasing a rabbit across a busy road and did not care whether cars were whizzing past him. Even now on three legs just days after his surgery, he was looking for the next rabbit, thinking, “If you think taking one leg off has slowed me down, think again! You can run but you can’t hide. I’m gonna get you!” His guardian knew Flint would not (or could not) be stopped. He only wished that he had gotten a bit wiser and not challenged another car in the future.

When life knocks you down, how are you affected? Maybe, like Flint, you got involved in a car accident (and it is your fault). Perhaps you made a bad decision resulting in disastrous results. Or you chose unwisely leading to costly consequences. How are you affected then?

Do you think you have been living life wrongly and this life event that happened to you is to serve as a reminder that you are not to live like that? Or you do not know everything and hence, should not be making bold decisions as you have done? Maybe you should only make safe and ‘normal’ choices (that everyone commonly makes) to obtain predictable and assured results?

You see, there are two types of people in this world. Those who think that life is happening TO them and those who know that life is happening FOR them. For the former type, each life event is seen as an absolute, usually as a success or a loss. If they do something or think in a certain way and something ‘bad’ happens, it is proof that they have done or thought wrongly and they have to rein in their fire, energy and zest for life and take a notch down or so. They feel that life is punishing them somehow in some way for their wrong deeds or thoughts. They doubt themselves and feel like they are being judged by something or someone and judgment passed is translated into whatever life event has occurred in their life. For example, they have taken too much risk in skating and have sustained a fall as a result. Consequently, they will skate less so they will not fall again. After all, if you do not strive too high, there will be less height for you to fall from, right?

For those who know that life is happening FOR them, they see it differently. They will see it as a lesson, not a judgment. They will learn from the lesson specifically so as not to make the same mistake. However, instead of dimming their fire, this will actually propel them to greater heights as now, they are more knowledgeable. They understand that this is nothing more than a lesson that life has provided to learn from. Please note that some lessons do bear a high cost that may not be fathomable until sometime after the event. However, they also know that the price is even higher if they did not learn from it. What they will not do is allow it to be an excuse to reduce their zest for life. They will find the silver lining, practice gratitude and continue their journey of life exploration. They know that in life, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. They know that it is not necessarily that they were living or thinking wrongly. It is just needing adjustments as they do not know what they do not know and are constantly learning. If they fall down after trying something new on their skates, they will learn from it, and practice it more so they will not fall down again. They certainly will not skate less.

Please do not confuse that for plain stubbornness or stupid obstinance. If you touch a fire, burn yourself, consider that as a test, and keep doing it and burning yourself as a result, you probably deserve to get burned. This is referring to learning from your mistake but not being afraid to touch the fire again, maybe using a stick or wearing a fire glove next time!

Many people lose faith after something happens to them. They feel the need to tone it down, risk less and ultimately, live less. They feel that life is giving them a message as they feel life is happening TO them. Usually, they will extend their inner thoughts to others around them. For example, if you tried something and fail, like a business, a relationship, or a project, have someone advised you to take it slow, tune your ego down or simply say that you are biting off more than you can chew? Before you consider how it makes you feel, take a look at the person’s life (who gave you the advice) and ask yourself if this advice is directed at you or simply a mantra they have been telling themselves.

If you going to do something different and/or big, expect to fail. Sometimes, even with the best intentions and preparations, life will throw you curveballs. Keep your ego in check and small but your passion big and wild. Understand that life happens FOR you ALL THE TIME, bar none. Reject the notion that life is happening TO you. It only is if you choose to think so. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Seek the lesson or the price paid for the event can only escalate. This is not positive thinking. It is empowered thinking.

With three legs, Flint will be wiser not to run into cars but it has only made him more determined to chase rabbits. After all, he thinks it is a greater challenge and he is better if he can catch them now with only three legs! What limiting beliefs do you have to give up to allow you to jump back up even fiercer after being knocked down by life?

‘Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it, it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

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