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Change and Perspective

February 21, 2011 · 188 comments

in Life

If I have learned anything about life, it is that you can never, ever predict what will happen next.  You can plan for the future, but often, those very carefully laid plans can get thrown right out the window in the blink of an eye.

Each time life gives these little shifts, it quite often provides a new perspective.

These perspectives can last a little while, or a lifetime.  If you gain a perspective that makes you appreciate the people in your life more, then do anything you can to hold on to it.  Quite often for myself, these new perspectives make me understand other people better.  Even when change is difficult and painful, at least there is something positive that I can usually learn from it.  (Although I still usually wish the bad change never happened, regardless of what I have learned!)

Nobody promised life would be easy.  Priorities change, focuses shift, it is just part of life.  I have read many times that what matters is how you react to a certain event that matters, not so much the event itself.  I guess if we could all just go out there and say “I am going to happily accept whatever negative consequences come my way”, then life would be much easier.  But it takes  time to accept things, and it isn’t always like you can just flip a switch and gain a whole new attitude, no matter how much you want to.

So, if something happens that you do not welcome, take time to process the event and appreciate any good that may come of it, if there is anything good that is.  Don’t beat yourself up over your reaction, emotions cannot usually be controlled so easily.  If you see someone else going through a rough time, do not judge, even if you do not understand why the person feels the way they do.

Have you ever experienced a negative event and ended up better off because of it?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos February 21, 2011 at 7:06 am

Kris, we can spill all the digital ink in the world on flexibility, planning and self-reliance, but the real test is when change, the bad kind, actually happens. But I agree, sometimes the theoretical knowledge is preferable than the practical one, meaning, we well do without some of the lessons learned.


Nicole February 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

Well, the folks who got the jobs I didn’t get when I was on the market have either already left those jobs or they are miserable. I’m pretty happy at mine.

My mother got breast cancer when I was in college, which was horrible, and if we could go back in time and erase that, we would. But… it made her both a lot more health conscious, which may help her longevity in other ways, and made her realize that she owed it to herself to say “NO” at work and not let them treat her like a doormat. Which has had positive benefits as well.

Health problems (I mean that broadly) are my biggest fear. Everything else I can sort of understand and hopefully have a safety net for and can work our way out of. But health problems can often not be controlled.


Moneycone February 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

Your post reminds me of this quote:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference”


Money Reasons February 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

Sometimes negative events happen to me and when I emerge from the muck, I’m a stronger, better (if not better, more focused) person.

I have learned that I have very little control over the negative event, and all I can really do is damage control and have coping mechanisms.


DoNotWait February 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

I have the same sentence in mind, and I keep a medallion with this same sentence written on in my wallet.
There are so many times during which I wish things would not change. I am in one of this period now when things are changing, but exactly the way I wanted. I hope it keeps on going this way. BUT every time I thought it was bad changes, it ended up being positive after a while. It is in one of my darkest period that I met the person I am sharing my life with. And it is funny because if all the bad things that happened did not happen, I would have never met this person. I mean, never! Since then I know there is always something good from an experience. Sometimes it was really worth it, sometimes it was not as much, but there is always something good, let it only be learning to never do that again…


Squirrelers February 21, 2011 at 11:50 am

Have I ever experience a negative event, and was I better off as a result?

Well….yes, I have experienced a few negative events. I ended up better off after one, but not better after another. I think it really depends on the event.

1) Some negative events open doors to better things in the future. You may not see it at the time, but you could end up better in the future.

2) Other negative events are negative, but you end up building character and strength, and eventually that internal improvement makes you a better person and outweighs the negative impace.

3) Yet other negative events are very negative, and take lots of time to heal. Some are just this way.

I’d like to think most negative events fit into #1 above, some in #2, and very few (but some nonetheless) in #3.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

Change definitely occurs… it’s expected even though sometimes, our plans ignore this constant aspect of life. I think not lingering in regret is key, like you point out in your post. It’s very counterproductive and rarely allows you to move forward and perceive things clearly.


krantcents February 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I think I learn much more from mistakes or when I fail than the successes. Maybe it is because I will spend time reflecting on the mistakes. Years ago, I interviewed for a job that my friend ultimately got. I thought I lost until months later, my friend told me how crazy the president was. He was fired about a year later. No regrets!


Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog February 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I completely agree. I think that being open to something new can really help accepting changes and helping people change thoughts on issues, and like you said, it often helps you understand people better. Once you start understanding where people come from, you can really open up to being friends with them and helping them.


Little House February 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Change is inevitable. I try to be as optimistic as I possibly can, but in the event of a negative consequence, I just try to use it as a learning experience. Man, have I learned a lot over the years! 😉


First Gen American February 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I try to make sure I learn something from negative events. If they were within my control to change the outcome, I still kick myself for not handling things better to begin with. If they are out of my control, I try to make an abatement plan and move on as quickly as possible.


bad credit February 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

I think each of us should have something in his soul that will help him to accept new situations or even just relationships. Wes should not afraid of accepting something new.


Deidre February 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Kris, great post as always! Since I am in post-catastrophe areas alot this is an issue I deal with often on different levels and varying degrees. I am often faced with assisting homeowners navigate the scenario of negative vs positive and looking for good things that result from situations like natural disasters.

Personally I have found that there is always a yin/yang energy dynamic with every situation if we are open to seeing it. You are absolutely correct that seeing this may take some time and distance and thats ok too! In fact, sometimes its vital!


Barb Friedberg February 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm

As usual, another thought provoking article. Flexibility and optimism, no matter how “cliche” they may sound are ways to ride the waves of life.


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