Have you read any of those Chicken Soup of the Soul sort of books? You know what I’m talking about, the ceaseless inspirational compendiums that tell you how everyone else has difficult experiences but finds them wonderful, helping them grow into better people, sleep better and even have smoother skin? That it’s only you who has bad experiences and doesn’t find them a blessing?
I have to admit that I avoid that genre of literature and cynically believe that it’s really easy to reflect on a difficult experience after the fact and rationalize it as a “growth opportunity” rather than what it might well have been: just a bad day, someone being a jerk or a stupid confluence of intentions.
Heck, I live in Boulder, and we pride ourselves on our ability to be “mindful” of the “journey” we’re on and “the power of intention” and visualization, etc etc. It’s non-stop and it gets a bit thick sometimes.
Cynical. I know. But here’s the thing: if you can’t differentiate between experiences that help you gain insight into yourself and your life and those that are just relatively pointless but part of the great fabric of life (oops, there I go with those Boulderisms. Sorry) then I suggest you have a problem.
It’s the same reason I don’t take my kids out for ice cream every single day, actually.
If everything is special, then nothing is.
Think about that for a second. If you’re inspired by every experience you have, aren’t you really just defining “inspirational” as your normal experience and thereby negating any chance of really being inspired by something?
If you have a treat every day, dessert after every meal, it’s not a treat any more, it’s just part of eating. And that’s a sad thing because all of the people who really savor their dessert as a special once in a blue moon treat are then better off than you are (and probably slimmer too, but that’s another story! 🙂
When I was asked to participate in this campaign and invited to write an “Inspirational” Life Happens moment, I immediately set myself a high bar to come up with something that really was deeply inspiring. Not that random act of kindness in the parking lot when the woman who parked so close to my car that I couldn’t get in realized and backed out with a smile, but something that changed the path of my life.
And no event has been more profound for me than the birth of each of my three children. Not the birth process itself, which, while we did have three home births, was influenced by lots of external forces and negative energies on the part of various participants (‘nuf said on that topic) but on the amazing transition from being a man and a husband to becoming a father. It’s a huge switch in your heart that just flips over from “I’m in this for me” to “I’m in this for you, little guy”.
And there’s nothing in my life that’s ever come close to being so deeply profound and inspirational for me.
In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, the nonprofit LIFE Foundation is giving away great prizes for the best Life Happens moments. You can enter the contest any time before Friday, October 7th. Make sure to encourage your friends and family to vote for your story as the Life Happens moments with the most votes will win (voting ends Friday, October 14th). First place will receive an Apple iPad® , second place will receive a $350 Apple gift card and third place will receive a $150 Amazon gift card.
Life Happens. And while you can’t control the future, you can take steps to protect the good things in life. Take a look around The LIFE Foundation website and learn more about how life insurance can help safeguard a secure financial future for those you love.