June 14, 2016
Our perspective can turn a disaster into a gift. It may not happen overnight, but each moment is an opportunity to practice grooming our minds to expect the best long-term outcome—even when the present feels grim.
In 1914, Thomas Edison watched ten of the buildings in his plant burn to the soil in a chemical-infused blaze. Not only was this more than half of his site, labs, and factory, it was also a sizeable chunk of his life’s work—poof!—up in smoke.
Not devastated, but in awe of what he was seeing, he told his son, “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.”
Edison, age 67 at the time, stood all night watching the fire and, though exhausted, he stated, “I’ll start all over tomorrow.” Which is exactly what he did. He began to rebuild immediately.
When asked why he wasn’t angry, devastated, and depressed, Mr. Edison confidently said, “All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
How does this line of thinking apply to your life today?
Action: Think back to your life as a child, teen, young adult, and recent past. Write down one experience from each time period that, at the time, felt insurmountable. Next to each experience, jot down notes about how these trials changed you and forced you to grow. Generally, our stresses as teenagers would be much less today through our adult perspectives. Perhaps as a child we had a friend move away and it felt like the world would end. However, looking back, it is clear that there were many important life lessons, which changed us for the good. Look for the lessons. Then, ask yourself, what would your 100 year old self tell you to do today in regards to your current life’s challenges. Write down that response.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.
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