My week was going just fine until I got hit from behind. I had great plans. Places to go and people to see. But that all changed in an instant when a pickup truck slammed into my tail-lift while I was stopped at a traffic light. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the other driver had insurance. But the fender-bender changed the course of my entire week. Something about being blasted from behind by 6,000 pounds of moving metal will rattle your cage.
All the self-help books in the world can’t fix your mind when you get all shook up. When life unexpectedly hits you from behind, you don’t feel like posting a new blog or pushing a new project at work. At least I didn’t last week. Having to negotiate with insurance agents and deal with auto-repairs will change your priorities for the moment.
Life Isn’t Always Fair
My fender-bender reminded me that life isn’t always fair. I was obeying the law. It wasn’t my fault. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Your roof suddenly starts leaking. A family members gets a terminal diagnosis. You suddenly become caregiver to an elderly parent or sick family member.
All these people who constantly keep their drawers in a wad over “fairness” need to get over themselves. It’s wrong to constantly scream that life should be fair. Why? Because life isn’t fair. You work hard and somebody else gets the promotion. An athlete trains hard for the big game and gets injured in practice. You obey the traffic laws and get blasted from behind.
Learn from your Struggles
At another point in life, I might have blown my cool over an unexpected fender-bender. But I’ve buried my parents and my older brother. Those experiences taught me the value of learning from your struggles. As I waited for the police to finish their reports, I thought to myself, “I’ll get through this okay. I’ve seen much worse.”
Still, it’s no fun to get blindsided. When it happens, accept the fact that it will knock you off your game for a minute. The project you had planned to complete that week may have to wait a few days. Give yourself permission to stay rattled for a day or so, but then get back in the game as soon as possible.
Get Back Up
Too many people fail because when life knocks them down they don’t get back up. I’ve learned that successful people get blindsided too. They just learn to get back up when knocked down.
If life has never knocked you down, don’t worry. It will. When it does, remember to get back up and get in the game. There’s some truth in the old saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Today, I worked on a problem with a co-worker. I didn’t want to work on it. I didn’t feel “the vibe.” However, it was a problem I had planned to work on last week before the car accident. After the rear-ender, I just didn’t feel like it. But I also realized it was time to get back up.
In the end, no one will notice that moment when you lift yourself off the ground after getting pounded. However, let them notice when you succeed because you got back up.