“Remember not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”
After college, I worked a couple years in the fine arts (museums and art galleries) as I was an art history minor. I applied to what I thought then was my dream graduate school in art history. When I got rejected, I was crushed. In hind sight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me because my career choices would have been very different, and my life would not be what it is today. I would probably be stuck working for a museum now, instead of following my passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Years later, it is easy to see in hind sight how your choices or paths have affected your life for better or worse, but when you’re in the situation, the crystal ball is not so clear. While we only know what we want at the time and believe it is in our best interest, the universe has a different plan. I call this the journey of the universe. In this journey, we are placed in uncomfortable and challenging situations, so we are taught important lessons along the way, and consequently, we can make better choices in life. When you don’t get what you want, it forces you to re-evaluate your situation and see what you may have done wrong and where you can improve. It is in these hard times we really learn about ourselves and that is the foundation for self improvement. If we always get our way, what lesson would we ever learn and why would we ever need to change for the better? Not getting into my dream art history program was a huge blessing because it forced me to find a different path, which led me to what I do today. I always wanted to be in the creative business, but realize now that a life-long career in the fine arts would have really kept me in a box, unable to explore what I was really meant to do. While I still love and appreciate art, my destiny and passion is in promoting healthy living.
Instead of accepting the outcome the universe has in store for us, we get frustrated when things don’t go our way, causing undue stress and unhappiness. Part of the frustration is caused by a sense of entitlement, which you have not earned, and feeling we have no control over our lives, which becomes our biggest stress. It is an illusion that we ever have control over our lives. Ironically, it is when we let go and surrender that we have real control.
Over the years, I realized that the universe had a plan for me and that I just needed to listen and follow it, so I’ve learned to let go and surrender to what is. Now, if things do not go my way, I am OK. That does not mean that I do not have bad days, but now, I do not dwell on it. If the universe has its own plan for us, does this mean that we sit back and do nothing? NO. Action is necessary in order to achieve your destiny, because when you’re being pro-active, the universe mysteriously puts you on the right path. And when you’re well on that yellow brick road looking back, the road will be clear. The path becomes less bumpier and smoother when you take productive steps moving forward. So, this is not the time to become lazy, but to become more pro-active, making the fog on the road dissipate and the crystal ball clear.
On a practical level, when disappointment occurs and things do not seemingly go your way, take a step back, retreat from the situation, let it go, and surrender to it. In time, the situation will become more clear and you will come out feeling more free and confident than ever before. Surrendering and knowing that you don’t really have control becomes the most powerful energy, and it is what gives you real control. And, most importantly, you will learn life lessons along the way to help you manage your life better and make you a stronger person.
So next time, when you don’t get what you want, don’t pout about it, but know that it was really a blessing in disguise. And you will move forward knowing that the universe was looking out for your best interest and taking care of you. The universe loves you and that is a great feeling!
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living
“How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life” by Dalai Lama