Sometimes What We Want Isn’t What We Need

16 May

There are times where I have expectations. Occasionally, those expectations are biased. I feel like I know what is the best for a given situation. Then, occasionally, it plays out differently than I ever hoped or dreamed. In my life, so many things have gone perfectly, and sometimes decisions are so easy, yet there are times where my dreams are not forerunners of that which ends up happening.

Clearly, I am not alone in this perspective on life. The world is full of people who want things, some blatantly, some not, and others just plain subconsciously. We go through life getting some of the things we want, and unfortunately dealing with other things that are not of our preference. At some point I am dealing with that which is so obvious, it doesn’t warrant space in writing.

Nevertheless, in the recent past I have seen two people deal with potentially life-altering decisions (decisions like a job or a place to live) that they did not want. Both were tremendously devastated with the initial outcome. I can understand this, as I too have had bad news and struggled to adjust. This, however, is where the similarities end.

One of these individuals acted like the proverbial child who took the board and went home. This person tried to control an uncontrollable situation and now looks like a jerk to any unbiased person watching the situation from afar. This has further exacerbated an aloofness that is now bordering on supreme selfishness, if it isn’t there already.

On the other hand, the second individual has sought council on how they can make improvements. This person has sought advice on how to make sure the situation is unlikely to repeat itself. Just altogether approaching life from the perspective of using this as a way to improve and refine himself so that his life is improved.

The second person is someone I want to spend time with, and someone whom I think can sharpen and refine me. The first person, on the other hand, is someone who is childish and I need to learn from in an entirely different way. That is a person whom I want to avoid, as seeing them react, I imagine Barney Fife’s reaction to a like situation.

I think we culturally have a problem with recognizing that not everyone has the same opportunity. I marveled as I was watching the elementary award ceremony at my kids’ school today. Vastly more than 50% of the students were recognized for almost every award as outstanding. Now, my children clearly are outstanding, but the fact is that it is statistically impossible for over half the students to be better than average at something. It just is.

So, why do we decide that we will delay the perspective of reality until they are adults? Why are we so worried about worrying people that we neglect the realities of life—some people are better at some things than others. It’s so fundamental to life and yet we reject it. I believe that we allow childish behavior to be accepted for longer, when we don’t allow them to experience the agony of defeat (and don’t even get me started on how we lower the possibility of excellence by eliminating the thrill of victory).

We need to insist that people have to be put in appropriate situations when losing. We need to insist that childish behavior be nipped in the bud, as soon as it can be. Otherwise you end up with adults who don’t realize that they aren’t in control and they freak out when they don’t get their way. This is never a good situation!


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