Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

The Downside of Getting My Way

Published in Blog. Tags: .

From Believed to Be Seen,

“When I was in high school a teacher asked our class to look at our futures and think of what goals we would like to achieve. Being seventeen years old I felt life would be complete if I could see some of my favorite bands perform live and own a big-screen TV. While I vividly remember daydreaming about how great it would be to see a few concerts and bask in the luxury of a massive glowing screen, my goals have evolved slightly as my understanding of what is possible has. […] In his 2011 Dartmouth College commencement address, Conan O’Brien spoke to this process, explaining, ‘It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.'”

From time to time it dawns on me just how terrible life would be if all I ever got was my way. I like to think of myself as some kind of Big Picture thinker, but when it comes right down to it my imagination is pretty limited. What I mean by that is: The universe seems to have a way of providing a richer life for me than the one I imagined as ideal for myself.

What I mean by that is, whatever version of an ideal life I’m able to come up with – my imagination almost always falls short of what life actually offers me. And what life tends to offer me is far more challenging, rewarding, terrifying, and satisfying than anything that I’d have come up with if I was running the show. (If I’d have gotten my way when I was young, my life would have been forever confined to the hopes, dreams, and imagination of a seventeen year old… what a sad state of affairs that would have been!) Therein lies the beauty of not getting my way: The majority of the time I end up in a better place because of it.