At times life is just not what we planned. Our own stupidity, or the thoughtless words and actions of others can derail things in the blink of an eye. What was a reasonable situation can become intolerable before people realize what has happened. All it takes is unreasoning anger, fueled by unrestrained emotions. As the old saying goes, things can go from the frying pan into the fire, and from the fire into the furnace for no apparent reason. When that happens, what do you do then?
It seems clear that some people tend to be more prone to emotional plunges than others. What I mean is, there are those individuals who just fall into one mess after another, and their life is punctuated by difficult moments of drama. They don’t look for trouble, it somehow seems to find them. In fact, as you looked at that last statement, someone or some situation probably came to mind. These are the one’s who have issues that come up, but before things get resolved, another problem arises that simply compounds the first. For some, this is an all too familiar way of life.
Over my years of counseling, I have discovered that the issue is not so much about “what” is happening, but it is more about “why” it is happening. The “what” is basically the same for everyone, but the “why” holds a key that unravels it. Everyone loses a job at one point or another, or hates their new job, or gets sick. Everyone gets taken advantage of or has a friend who walks away. Everyone has misunderstandings, or get’s pulled over by the police, or says the wrong thing at the wrong time. That’s just part of life on this planet. However, this does not happen to everyone on a regular basis. If it is happening to you, then it’s time to ask “why”.
Let me give you a beautiful example from my own experience, and that may help you understand what I’m talking about. Seventeen years ago I met my beautiful wife and when we were a few days from being married I decided to sell a trailer. I was planning to use that money for some of our wedding expenses. One day a man showed up to look the trailer over. He seemed reputable, was very likeable, and assured me he would be back on Friday to pick it up and pay for it. We shook hands and he headed out the driveway. As he was about to leave he returned and asked if I would mind him taking the trailer now, since he was already here, and Friday he would stop by to pay me.
I’m sure you’ve already guessed what happened. At my secretary’s great concern I handed over all the paperwork and we parted company. He was in fact a licensed guide in the Oneonta, NY area. Since my father was a guide I felt he could be trusted. Unfortunately for me he was also a con-man and a thief. He never returned with the cash. When I called him on it and even drove down to his house, he lied to me in every way possible way. The bottom line was simple. I was and easy mark, I was taken for one thousand dollars, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
The “what” in this situation is very simple. I had been taken advantage of by a liar, a thief and a very slick con-man. However, the “why” in the situation is what’s really important. I really wanted that money for my wedding, and because of the urgency I was gullible enough to believe others were as honest as I was. Because of this I signed my trailer over to someone whose words and character were both worthless. It was a very hard lesson to learn.
Without asking yourself the “why” of something, the “what” will never change. Like it or not, this is the cold, hard truth we all have to face. For instance, I was getting tea at Burger King the other day and there were several young people sitting there, waiting for job interviews. The manager told me she had two shift slots available, and apparently these were the applicants for the jobs. All of them seemed reasonable, but there were distinct differences with two of the four, and I watched the interviews for the human interest value, just to see what would happen.
All of the interviewees arrived on time, and all had filled out their applications, more or less correctly. All could begin work immediately, and none of them had work restrictions. Two of the four were clean-shaven, hair combed, neatly dressed in blue jeans and a casual shirt. They had no visible piercings, tattoos or odd mannerisms. The other two were, shall I say, quite unique in every way. One had short cut purple streaked hair, a scruffy beard, a nose ring, dressed all in black and had black nail polish on every other finger nail. The other young man had a hand and one arm covered with graphic tattoos. His pants were hanging down and his underwear could be seen. He wore a ball cap sideways and written on his t-shirt was the witty saying, “Out Of My Way, I Have No Time For A_ _ Holes Today”. Need I say which two did NOT get the job?
The point here is quite simple. If you never ask the “why” of things in your life, then the “what” in your life will never change. I wonder if those four young men were all thinking they had the job, as they left their interview. Did it dawn on two of them that first impressions are important? Did they consider that how they dressed speaks volumes about how they represent the company? More importantly, did any of them ask “why” they did, or did not, get the job? When things in life just don’t go your way, over and over again, perhaps it’s time to ask “why”. Better yet, maybe it’s time to seek out those who will give you a painfully honest and very truthful answer.
If you are tired of life in the furnace, then answering the “why” of things is one of the keys that can unlock your future. Look in the mirror and really see what others see when they look at you. Check you attitude, your actions, your facial expressions and your appearance. Are they are conducive to the life you think you deserve. Examine your words and your interaction with others. Are you are building, or sabotaging, the future you want? It may shock you to find out just how far out of step you really are with the place you dream of going. In the final analysis, once you begin to as the “why”, the “what” will take care of itself.