Often in life, things happen which disrupt how we want things to be. For example:

  • You sprain your ankle just before competing in a marathon
  • It pours down with rain on the day you planned to have a nice picnic with your partner
  • You lose your job
  • A relationship ends
  • Your car breaks down and is too old to be repaired and therefore needs to be scrapped. You can’t afford to buy a new car.

When these kinds of things happen to us, it can seem extremely frustrating, or even deeply upsetting. However, often there are opportunities hidden in such hurdles life throws at us. Let’s look at that little list again, and see if we can spot an opportunity in each of them:

  • You sprain your ankle, so instead of competing in the marathon, you stay home and learn how to meditate, which you’ve always wanted to do but somehow never found the time for.
  • The rainy day means you can’t go for a picnic, so you treat yourselves to a meal at a nice restaurant that you’ve always wanted to go to.
  • You lose your job, so you go back to college, or you consider a change of direction in your career, or you start a business, or you simplify your life (cut out expensive hobbies, interests, etc.).
  • Your relationship ends, so you regain your independence and do some of the things you’ve been wanting to do for yourself for a long time.
  • You no longer have a car, so you start cycling to work instead. As a result, your fitness improves, and maybe you even lose weight.

Can you see how these opportunities are all things which you may not have done if you had not been forced into that situation?

For me, in my daily life, I try to apply this attitude. I love sunny days as much as anyone, and I love being outdoors, but I really don’t tend to complain about rainy weather the way many other people do. Why? Because I have indoor hobbies too, and a rainy day is a perfect opportunity to completely shut out the outside world and dedicate the day to doing my fun indoor things. I make music, or I edit my photos in Photoshop, or I play around with audio, or I meditate, or I read, or I catch up on computer stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise have time for, or I read interesting things online, or I write articles like this (yes, it is raining right now). These are things I cannot do when I am out in the sunshine cycling through the woods or walking up a hill.

Last weekend, it was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday. I kind of over-did the exercise. I went for a walk up two hills early in the morning, then in the afternoon/evening I did a really long bike ride. As a result, I did my knee in. I knew I’d be out of action for a few days at least. 

The next day was set to be sunny again, and I really wanted to be out in the sunshine. I knew I couldn’t go for a walk or a bike ride, so you know what I did? I went out for a drive around some nice places just a few miles away, and just relaxed. I sat on benches in the beautiful sunshine and soaked up the lovely bright day, or I parked up somewhere in my car and meditated. I spent the entire afternoon like this, and it was wonderful. I wouldn’t have done that if my knee had been fine. I’d have been out on my bike or walking up a hill somewhere.

What are the times in your own life where you have not been able to do what you had originally planned to do, or circumstances have disrupted your life? What are the things on your “Maybe One Day I’ll Do This” list which you never seem to bother doing? Are there any times when you could do some of those things instead of the things you had originally planned? What opportunities are secretly hiding, waiting for you, if you’d only look beyond the immediate upset of the sudden change of situation?