New Experiences Bring Life Lessons
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine reached out to ask me if she could stay with me during her visit to Austin. Out of pure excitement and no hesitation, I had said, “of course.” She then proposed possible options regarding the duration of her stay … starting from a week to a few weeks to a month. I agreed to whichever one worked best with her schedule without taking into consideration all the new changes this experience could potentially bring.
I took a major chance on the unknown.
I didn’t know her routine, lifestyle …
“What if she was the opposite of me? What if she didn’t care about having dirty dishes around the apartment? What if she had no sense of organization?"
“How would all of these changes impact me?” I thought.
I realized an important lesson, to practice what I share with others.
A friend's message immediately came to mind, “We often try to teach others what we need to learn ourselves.”
Step #1: Recognize the Challenge
As I sat on my bedroom floor, thinking about the discomfort I was experiencing, I realized that my discomfort was not with my friend as a human being, but rather the fact that she’s used to doing things differently than I. Neither one is wrong.
Both are right according to the lens that one chooses to see it through.
“How am I going to adjust? How can I become comfortable in being uncomfortable?”
It was an unrealistic expectation of me to expect her to make all these changes according to the way I live. Change can take a significant amount of time, at least that’s what my experience has been.
Step #2: Express Possible Solutions
In thinking about my non-negotiables, things that absolutely drive me nuts if they aren't the way that I want them to be, I decided to tell her things that I value so she could make more of a conscious effort in respecting the way that I choose to live my life.
As I walked around the apartment, I explained to her using other stories why I value the importance of having a clean apartment, dishes, bathroom door open so the air can circulate through the place, etc. Then, I politely asked her to TRY HER BEST.
I also acknowledged to her that I didn’t expect her to get all these right off the bat considering that it took me years to get to this point of knowing what I want.
As a couple days went by, with a few minor inconveniences, I realized myself to be in a much better place, mentally, than the one I used to be when I had guests previously.
I used to instead of communicating what I value, assume that somehow the other individual would know or figure it out. Then, when something was out of alignment with my way of living, I’d start counting down the days until they'd leave. I could’ve approached these 12 or 13 days with the same attitude. After experiencing my first adversity or sense of discomfort, I could have said, “Screw it”, closed my eyes and started counting down the days. Instead, I opened my eyes even more by reminding myself that “everything and everyone has a purpose”.
Therefore, there’s a reason why this experience was taking place.
Step #3: Face the Unknown
Considering that my friend was evolving like I was every single day, I simply couldn’t predict whether she was going to follow all of the things I described to her.
She certainly didn’t carry around pen and paper with her, so hopefully her memory is as good as advertised. Every morning, when I woke up with thoughts of possible discomfort, I realized I had a choice in how I approach the rest of the day.
Having not made my way out of bed, thinking about all the possible “what if” scenarios, I chose to follow the routine I developed for myself well prior to my friend’s arrival.
I reinforced optimism and positive thinking back into my life (Step #4).
I woke up every morning listening to, “The Secret of the Ages” followed by meditating, expressing gratitude, and other exercises. I did these things as often as I could, especially on days when I did not want to do them. “How do you find motivation when you truly don’t want to do the things in front of you?” For me it was by reminding myself that if I don’t choose to serve myself first, I won’t be able to serve others the way I want to. I’ll still have an influence on them whether it is one I desired for that’s a different story.
Step #5: Adapt to Your New Environment via A Strategic Plan
For me, I started this routine with the intention of being able to do this for 30 days.
I wasn’t trying to have all these new habits become my day today. Rather, I was trying to find habits that felt good. Habits that gave me a sense of warmth and comfort as I was doing them. Habits that would be an answer to my question, “What makes me feel good?”
Step #6: Master the Newly Acquired Skills
A friend of mine once said to me, “The best way to learn something yourself is to teach others.” Well, that is exactly why I do what I do today.
Sharing my life experiences with friends, family, and complete strangers.
The more I lean into each experience, the more I learn from it.
I remember a few years ago, I had set an intention for myself to find a way to learn from all my adversities in life. Recently, I realized that the more I focused on the theme, the more learning opportunities I’ve received. To date, I’ve been a part of hundreds of situations where I was challenged in more ways than I could imagine.
I have had difficult conversations that oftentimes went one of two ways: either deepening a relationship or completely losing it…
I’ve lived off chicken noodle soup for more days than I could dream of…
I’ve stared at my bank account balance stating $0.00 …
I share all of this for one reason and one reason alone, “Every adversity carries within it the possibility of an equal or greater opportunity.”
Step #7: Empower Yourself to See New Possibilities
You might be wondering, “How do I see such opportunities?”
Ask yourself, “What is the current adversity helping me see that I haven’t seen before?"
About the Author Oleg Lougheed: His start in life was inauspicious. At 9 years old, he relinquished his parents' rights and entered the Russian orphanage. At 12 years old, he decided to be adopted into a new family, in a new country, halfway across the world, to start a new life. At 24 years old, he began his journey of helping others live the life they have always dreamed of, despite their hardships and misfortunes by allowing them to recognize the uniqueness and worth within their own story.?"