If The World Didn’t Suck, We Would All Fall Off.

October 19, 2009
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How many times have you heard the expression ?well that really sucks? referring to something bad that has just happened? Those words have taken on universal meaning referring to negative events that act as a sort of cosmic quicksand or mire that yanks you out of your comfort zone without a moment?s hesitation.

As a very small boy I was fascinated by gravity. Why could flies crawl across the ceiling when my feet always stayed firmly planted on the ground? As I grew older my fascination became focused on finding practical solutions to more realistic problems. As my quest for solutions grew, so did the realization that there were many issues that simply confounded me. Then one day I heard my teenage son mutter to himself ?well that really sucks? while staring under the hood of his stalled old clunker. It was then I made a strange connection between gravity and things that go wrong. In the same manner that we can make the force of gravity work for us, I decided to try to do the same thing with some of the negative curves that life threw me.

I realized that personal growth arises from struggling with and adapting to difficult life events. Many times as a funeral professional, I witnessed firsthand growth of character following major problems. In the early years I was involved with a ?Funeral Home/Ambulance? operation and saw patients with debilitating illnesses and survivors of natural disasters emerge from harrowing circumstances with a transformed understanding of themselves and the world. I observed people confronted by death and adversity make successful attempts at dealing with their vulnerability. I soon realized that using the ?that sucks? events to find coping possibilities increased the chances of a positive, rather than a negative outcome. In other words I began to allow my trials, my tribulations and my failures to become opportunities for growth.

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Each of us is different. Each of us has our own ?flourish or founder? reaction to a stressful event. However, not all stressed individuals experience post-traumatic growth. Not everyone finds it easy to discover the diamond hidden inside the lump of coal. Unlike the little girl, gleefully rummaging through the box of manure she received for Christmas exclaiming ?I just know there is a pony in here somewhere?, some of us are not naturally optimistic. Just remember that it is perfectly acceptable to assert your ?average?-ness and it is perfectly acceptable to be unable to grow from every ?life sucks? experience.

I hope that my thoughts relating to the principles of gravity help you to strive to find the ?pony in there somewhere? the next time you are dealt a losing hand.

I repeat my flippant observation … ?If the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off?.

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