A simple fundamental question

It is often said that “Hindsight is 20/20” in which one is able to obtain clarity from difficult situations. This is wonderful for personal growth, however there is one rather large unfortunate drawback: one has to first experience the hardship. Furthermore, one is often in a muddled mental state during the hardship which exponentially compounds the negative feelings/emotions (e.g., helplessness, anger, and despair) which in turn directly impacts our actions (almost always negatively) during these trying times.

Since hindsight is based on historical events and it is more tangible, it is often easier for one to process than foresight. With fleeting moments of hope and intangible potential outcomes based on predicted events, one can quickly find themselves lost in a forest of uncertainty, doubt, and despair, unable to develop and/or maintain the required foresight and proper perspective to help guide them through the forest.

It is not that foresight will help you avoid or quickly escape difficult and trying times, however, by allowing yourself to develop proper foresight and positive perspective, it is akin to getting a 10,000-ft bird’s eye view of your location in the forest and which can help guide you through with some sense of comfort and hopefully minimizing poor choices in direction, time and energy expended as well as any regrets when looking back.

With this in mind, I feel it is imperative when faced with difficult and trying times to take time to develop a proper plan, intent, and end goal (what could be thought of as a map of the forest that is before you as well as a picture of the end destination) which provides a fundamental foundation for developing and maintaining the proper perspective. It is also important to be aware of your negative feelings/emotions and try not to let them cloud your mind of developing positive perspectives. Some times the resulting map is fuzzy or incomplete, which is completely fine and should not instill panic. Often, the mere fact of simply knowing that a map exists will do wonders in helping maintain a proper perspective and as time progresses you can always fill in more details.

It is this plan that will allow you to hold the course and help you to seek positive influences and guidance from friends, family, and life experiences despite how thick the forest might get or how lost the cause might feel. It my short time on this planet, I have had my share of numerous unfortunate circumstances and events, but I have also seen (or was made aware of) countless times in which a person’s capacity for tenderness, compassion, and pure raw determination to do selfless acts for the benefit of a person/people in need never seizes to amaze.  This person’s drive might seem unwarranted or foolish to the untrained eye (i.e., one that has never experienced that situation first-hand before), but these are the events that shape, mold, and refine a person. In the end, it is entirely up to you as to how you choose your final form to be: highly polished reflecting light and illuminating the dark parts people and the world or jaded and jagged harming all those that come into contact with you. It is so unfortunate that the news, media, and humanity so frequently focus and dwell on the negative aspects, biasing our view points and leading us to quickly discount and/or completely ignore our opportunities to experience and be positively impacted by another person’s act of kindness and compassion.  It is best to frequently ask yourself a simple fundamental question that Dr. Randy Pausch stated so concisely and eloquently: “When we’re connected to others, we become better people” and although “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, [we can control] only how we play the hand”; “The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”


Comments (2)
  • alex says:

    Hi, i have reading out and i will definitely bookmarrk your site, just wanted to say i liked this article.

  • John Knicker says:

    Excellent thoughts and thanks for quoting Dr. Pausch (each of our family members has a copy of his book – The Last Lecture). My duaghter Alex will be riding also this year. It’s good to see so many dedicated, thoughtful students involved in a “thick forest” journey to try to “cure” cancer.

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