“Remember, life happens for us, not to us.”
Some time ago, I walked away from a business. I still remember the feeling when I did it. I was overcome with this sensation of animosity and guilt. I was engulfed in defeat and despair. I had spent three years building that business and it could have easily become a 9-figure empire at the bare minimum. But I walked away.
When I did, I really questioned whether everything happens in life for a reason. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, I heard the voice of God. I knew that only He could turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into a victory. I knew there had to be a reason for it all. I just couldn’t find it at the time.
Anytime we fail at something, we’re overcome by a sense of defeat. It’s nature. And it’s part of life. We all go through it. Does it feel good? Nope. Not in the slightest. But you can’t always expect life to be rainbows and sunshine. But there is a reason for the things that happen to you. In fact, the greatest lessons you could ever learn in life are born from failure.
I think that too often, people are so afraid of failure that they spend most of their lives running from it, when, in fact, it should be embraced and welcomed. You will never learn from success. You will never improve if you’re always living on easy street. There is true strength and progress to gain just outside of your comfort zone.
Still, I know that this doesn’t make it feel any better. I can only relate the journey. I can only convey how it feels. I can relate the pain and help others discover ways through it. I can’t make it better. No one can. But through the pain of failure and our most trying experiences, something wonderful is born. It’s a renewal of spirit, a birth of rejuvenation and an overall belief in greater things to come.
If you have faith in God, Allah, Buddha, or simply the universal oneness that binds us all, you’ve likely realized that everything in life does happen for a reason. And, even when you can’t understand it at that very moment, it does. Because, down the line, somewhere in the future, somewhere in the unknown, something else happens that’s so wonderful, that it’s only then that you realize it would have never come to fruition had you not suffered that earlier tragedy in the first place.
Why Things Happen For a Reason
If you’re suffering through a tragedy right now, then my heart goes out to you. I know the feeling of despair all too well. Maybe I’m just an extremely sensitive person, but it affects me deeply. Yet, then again, failure and tragedy affects everyone. It might impact us differently, but at the end of the day, it does impact us.
But there’s a reason why those things happen to you. Failure and tragedy are by design. They are part of nature’s chisel, chipping away at us in an attempt to improve our lives. However, it doesn’t happen by sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. You have to turn that mess into a message. You might not realize it today, but there is a grand design.
When I walked away from that business, there was one thing going through my mind. All I could think about was the fact that human beings were meant to thrive, not just survive. I was living in survival mode. Mentally and emotionally and even spiritually, I was on survival autopilot. I was trying to survive the emotions that had engulfed me and altered my perspective.
But I realized that this experience and this situation was meant for me to thrive. And thrive I have. It’s funny how things can really alter your trajectory if you embrace them rather than run from them. I was put here for a reason. I was meant to help others realize the utility in their failures and not to run from them. Sure, there are other reasons for my existence, but that’s certainly one of the cornerstones.
What had happened to me was that I was getting further and further away from helping others. I was so immersed in my own sh*t that I couldn’t see the proverbial forest through the trees. But since that experience, some extraordinary things have happened to me.
For a long time, I had ignored networking and building deep and lasting relationships with people. But after that experience, I drowned myself in helping others. I created immense value for others without anyone ever asking me to do so. I built bridges, not walls. Now, if you want to go forward in life, then that’s exactly what you need to do. Because, by adding value in this world, and by helping others achieve their own success, you form the deepest and longest-lasting bonds.
Yes, everything does happen for a reason in life. Everything. We might not realize it. But it does. And they do. However, there are 5 underlying reasons why I feel that everything happens for a reason in life. These 5 reasons are fundamental to our greater understanding of the meaning of our lives. No, I’m not trying to get existential on you here. I’m being serious.
#1 — It prepares you for what’s to come
One very powerful realization is that everything happens for a reason because it’s preparing you for what’s to come in life. It’s helping to get you ready for a bigger and brighter future. You can’t have the pleasure of success without suffering through the pain of defeat. Even when these are tragedies outside of our control, there is a reason for them.
Cognitively, it doesn’t make sense. I know that. You can’t understand the reasons why someone dies, someone leaves you for someone else, or why a business might collapse. All you’re dealing with at the time is pain. But once that pain washes over you, and you move slowly into the future, things begin happening that wouldn’t have happened had you not suffered through that pain in the first place.
#2 — It makes you more resilient
Failure, tragedy and defeat makes you more resilient. Not at the time when you’re suffering through it. But over time as the weeks, months and years wear on. Often, you will never get over those biggest heartbreaks in life. But that’s okay. Because it shapes you into a more resilient person. It hardens you for what’s to come.
The truth is that tough times never last. But tough people do. And the scars that we receive in life will remind of us where we’ve been, but they don’t necessarily need to dictate where we will go. Don’t wallow too far in misery. Lift yourself up. Find the beauty in the simple things in life because that’s what’s important sometimes.
Ultimately, you understand that not everything is in your control, nor should it be. You simply can’t control everything that happens to you in life. But you can control how you respond. There’s an old quote that says life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
#3 — It helps you to shatter your old beliefs
When something bad happens to us, and it’s within our control, as in, the circumstances were a product of our own behavior, it makes a big impact on our ego. In fact, it shatters our old beliefs. We fall from grace and realize that whatever it is that we were doing, however it is that we were behaving, wasn’t at all proper.
You look at things differently. You learn to approach it in another way. That’s the thing about beliefs. They’re ingrained in us from childhood. They’re baked into our minds. And it’s so hard to overcome those old beliefs when we’re stuck in our ways living in mediocrity. I’m not talking about tragedies here. I’m talking about failures that we played a role in.
It’s pretty powerful to shatter your old beliefs. It’s essentially your ego crashing down to the floor. We’re able to reason so much of our limiting behavior because it’s steeped in habits. We go after pleasure while trying to avoid pain in the short term. Not in the long term. If we were avoiding pain in the long term we would always do what it took to make big progress and improve over time.
#4 — It helps invite progress not perfection
It’s all about progress and not perfection. Imagine being able to improve any area of your life by just one percent every day. That one percent compounds on itself over time. But too often, we don’t improve. We actually stay stagnant. That is, until we’re jolted out of our old limiting patterns of behavior by some deep amount of pain or failure. That’s when life’s real lessons kick into high gear.
However, too often, when something goes wrong, we fall of the proverbial wagon. We don’t make a little bit of progress. We actually go backwards. However, when that deep and sudden failure occurs, it opens your eyes to the necessity of making progress.
#5 — It makes you more empathetic and real
It’s hard to be empathetic when you haven’t really suffered through major defeat and tragedy. It just is. Sure, you can be sympathetic still. But not empathetic. Empathy only happens when you can truly relate through an experience with someone else. There’s real power in that.
It also makes you far more real and far less superficial. It’s easy to be superficial. We all have 3 faces. The face we show the world, the face we show family and friends, and our other face that we show no one. The latter is our true self. What happens when you suffer through a big tragedy is oftentimes those faces merge and you are left with a much more true and real face.
Why is that important? Because authenticity and transparency is so hard to come by these days. But when you find a person who’s real and authentic and transparent, it really does make you stop dead in your tracks. Those are the types of people that I choose to surround myself with. Not fake people who are only concerned with what others think of them.