Friday, October 30, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Lily What do you think of when you see a flower?  Many represent some human emotion or event.  For example, a lily, like the water lily shown here, is a sign of death. 

I ask the question again, what do YOU think of when you see a flower?  Whatever it is, it’s the meaning you’ve associated with that flower.  The flower doesn’t haven’t such context or meaning of itself.  It just is whatever it is.

The same holds true for every event in our lives.  We choose to give them importance and meaning based on some context or personal attachment we have with them. 

I’m writing about this as a result of a conversation I had with a friend.  She and I hadn’t spoken since high school. As we exchanged stories on Facebook, I mentioned one of my accidents that nearly cost my life. 

You see, I had a snowboarding accident about ten years ago that resulted in head trauma.  Specifically, I had subdural hematoma of the brain, which is a fancy way of saying I had internal bleeding just below my skull surface.  It lead to me passing out on the slopes, a trip to the Mammoth Lakes hospital, an airlift to Reno, a flight to Orange County, a trip to Hoag Hospital and then being released. 

I went through some therapy and all seemed to go well.  That is, until the end of my first or second week of treatment.  My nightly headaches, haunting me from the day of the accident, were unbearable.  So, they took another scan and found the bleeding that had previously stopped had restarted.  I was referred immediately to a brain surgeon that recommended I undergo surgery that night.  That is, if I wished to live past the weekend!  That was a tough decision…I’m kidding, of course! 

I came out of it just fine.  Immediately after gaining consciousness that night post-operation, the headaches were permanently gone.  Mind you, I was full of fear going into the surgery.  I was told there was a chance I would not wake up after the surgery, or that there would be complications. But I knew I had to pull it together and come out of it alive.  I wanted to live. 

That night, while waiting to get a room for surgery, before my mother came to hospital, my father spoke with me.  He must have told me a hundred different way about how it was all going to be alright, but there was one thing he said that stood out: nothing that’s happened means anything more than what I think it does.  Everything else is somebody’s opinion.

LightBulbThat’s it! That’s the key and the meaning of life I’d been looking for: that it means whatever I want it to.  The lily may mean death to some, but the meaning I give it is beauty and tranquility.   How everyone interprets the lily is their meaning, and their meaning is nothing I need to worry about.

This is true for everything in our lives.

The boss may come into your office and fire you, but it only means he came and said you no longer had to go to that office starting the next day.  It may also mean that you decide it’s the greatest opportunity of  your life since you suddenly find yourself faced with the opportunity to start a business.

May be you’re already own a business.  There could be a lot of people out of work, and a lot of businesses may be hesitant to buy your services, but that only means you have to be more creative about how you promote your services.  It means nothing else.  Any other interpretation is someone else’s, not yours, and you needn’t concern yourself with it. 

How you interpret an event determines what path your choose.  If you see you have to be more creative, then your body and mind will search for ways to be creative.  If you continue to search, to ask how you can get the next sale and ignore other people’s meanings and obstacles of why it’s the worst time to build your sales pipeline, then you WILL undoubtedly be successful.  You will the reap the rewards of your meanings of potential rather than dismissal, no matter what are the circumstances.

What Do You Think?
Am I too much of an optimist?  Do you have a different perspective?  I’d love to hear about it.  So, why don’t you share it below with a comment.