- Rodney Lee Mills
When It Doesn’t Go Your Way
Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.” At some point in our lives, we all have fell victim to letting trouble get the best of us. In those moments, it can seem like a “punch in the mouth”. The truth is that no one is immune from trouble. Even the best of us somehow, someway find a way to run into trouble. So although running into trouble is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be terminal.
Unfortunately, “running into trouble” isn’t a class you can pass once and never have to take again. Trouble is part of the life curriculum we all must face over and over again. So if that is the case, what can we do? I want to share with you circumstances where we can face trouble and if we are not careful, we can allow that trouble from our past and present to affect our future.
DON’T LET YOUR PAST DICTATE YOUR FUTURE (YOUR PAST)
Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest United States presidents of all-time. He exemplifies perseverance. What made Lincoln great was that he never let his past dictate his future. It was said that Lincoln lost 2 out of 11 offices he ran for before being elected as the 16th president of the United States. On top of those defeats, he also experienced numerous personal and professional setbacks that would make even the most resilient people falter.
For those of you who do not know the story of Abraham Lincoln, he eventually led the country through one of its darkest periods as the nation was so divided that it eventually led to Civil War. After multiple battles and over 615,000 soldier’s deaths, the war was over and the Union was preserved. Leading the country through this difficult period was no small feat and it needed a leader who was tested, resilient, and strong. There is no doubt in my mind that the difficulties leading up to his presidency prepared him for the challenges he faced as president.
So where are you? Have you been through a difficult stint or two in your past? Are you still recovering from a recent setback? If so, are you allowing those situations to dictate your future? If so, be encouraged that no matter what you went through, you too have overcome those situations and it is now up to you to use those past experiences to fearlessly face and overcome the challenges of the future.
DON’T SPEAK OR ACT IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT (YOUR PRESENT)
When looking at a ceramic mug from a distance, it is virtually impossible to determine what exactly is in that mug. Is it coffee? Is it tea? Is it some other beverage? Is there anything in it? You really can’t tell unless you are standing near it to look in. But even at a distance, if that mug is jostled, the contents of the mug will spill out revealing the contents of the mug.
This illustration shows what happens when we ourselves speak or act in the heat of the moment. The contents of our heart can sometimes be easy to hide from others but how we react in the heat of the moment is like that illustration of the mug. What spills out in those moments reflect our true feelings and they are revealed for all to see.
I’m sure you can think of a time (or in my case, plenty of times) where you said or did things you regretted because you got caught up in the moment. The reality is that most of the time, things just won’t go our way. So when it comes to moments that catch us off guard, it is important for us to not let a few seconds of frustration create an uncomfortable situation or even worse, potentially ruin a friendship or relationship.
If we are really good, we can probably fool others for a while but it is in those moments that we demonstrate a clearer more honest picture of ourselves. So when things don’t go your way in the heat of the moment, take time to step back from the situation and think before you speak or act.
So the next time you are “punched in the mouth,” how will you react? Do not let your initial reaction be to figuratively (or for that matter literally) “punch back.” Don’t let your words and actions done in the heat of the moment, affect your future.
KEEP MOVING FORWARD (YOUR FUTURE)
No matter what your situation is (good or bad), the one thing you must do is to KEEP MOVING FORWARD! Progress is never made by going side to side or moving backwards, so when things don’t go your way, keep moving forward.
An illustration that comes to mind is when I heard a Secret Service Agent describe their mindset when they train for presidential support or get into actual “trouble.” One of the most important things they must do is to keep moving forward. Whenever they find themselves stationary or going backwards, that is when they find themselves in deeper trouble.
This is a lesson we can all apply to our own lives. We too can use experiences from the past and learn from them so we can make better decisions in the future. It is important for us to keep moving forward and to not negatively dwell on those issues that set us back. It is important for us to not use our past as a crunch or an excuse of future actions or inaction. In order to make progress, we must keep moving forward!
When we find that things are not going our way, (whether it has already happened or is happening in our lives right now) we have to keep moving forward in a positive manner. When we move forward, it is important for us to move forward as a smarter, more mature person, leaving the former shell of ourselves who was defeated and fearful. When we do this, we can live a life of happiness, second chances, and forgiveness (for ourselves and for others).
We all make mistakes so no one is perfect. We will sometimes find that some people seem to get all the breaks while we may find ourselves always with the short end of the stick. In those moments, make the most of those experiences, keep moving forward, and be a better you.
Regardless of where we find ourselves, at some point in our lives, we will find that things won’t go our way. How we deal with those issues of the past and the issues we deal with today will determine just how positive our future can be. The key is to learn from the past, be calm in the present, and keep moving forward!