Giving Thanks, Letting Go, and Helping Out

“I can’t explain everything, but with a little perspective and a good attitude, something great will oftentimes come from something bad.”-abk

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends, football, food, fun, and anything else that starts with the letter “f”.  I had a busy week full of frivolity and things to be grateful for, but per usual, I would like to take a little different slant on the topic this week.

I read something this week that said “nobody is posting failures”, so it looks like everyone just has this glamorous life.  Thanksgiving Day certainly enhances that.  Your family is better than mine.  Your turkey is bigger than mine.  It makes me giggle, but more importantly, got me thinking.

AEBBBEBD-A09E-4D6E-8A2A-20B9771BB139You know what I am thankful for?  Not getting picked for the All-Star baseball team when I was a kid.  Being told I wasn’t good enough to start for the soccer team my freshman year of college.  Having season-ending knee surgery said freshman year and then again my sophomore year, which forced me to walk on crutches up mountains for the better part of two years.  I am thankful that, in high school, my parents made me drive a 1980s baby blue Mercury Grand Marquis that was bigger than some actual boats.  I am thankful that I have arthritis, yes, thankful.  I am thankful that later in college, my coach benched me, leading scorer and all, when I was acting like a baby and not the leader I should have been. I am thankful that I weathered serious dust-ups with teammates who have now become great friends.   I am thankful for all of the business deals that I did not win, and all of the ballgames that I flat out lost.  I am thankful for the time that my dad took me down to the gas station on Providence Road after I lost a tennis match and wore me out, not because I lost, but because I gave up.

FA45111D-2A39-4DAE-934E-83B00AE2BE9FWhy am I so thankful for the things above?  Three primary reasons.  One, I have personally experienced so much good and so much growth from something “bad”, it reminds me now that when a setback occurs, be patient and wait for the good.  Two, having these experiences turns minor issues into nonexistent ones and major issues into minor setbacks.  Three, celebrate the good.  Unbelievably, that last one is the hardest for me, but I’m getting better.

Because I am so passionate about living life and do so much each day, I have a zillion stories like these.  Some are as simple as the above, and some are rather complex.  But the reason I tell you this is because failures/”bad things”/losses have provided me with the thing I am absolutely most thankful for, and that is perspective.  For someone who certainly has NOT seen it all, sometimes I feel like I have.

I used to take these failures and use them as “I’ll show you” fuel.  No more.  That has grown quite tired.  I’ve learned over the past few years that possessing such perspective at a young age is a huge asset, so I now just use it to try and help other people as well as better myself.  Not sexy.  Just true.  And an odd byproduct has come from this.  Peace.

Do you find yourself angry, upset, or annoyed by someone or something?  Have you taken the time to explore why?  Can you draw on certain “bad” experiences in your life to bring perspective?  I’ve been focused on this daily for the better part of two years, and I can now almost do it subconsciously.

I reminded you last week that life is not fair, as taught to me early by my father.  I have just told you that with a positive frame of mind, failures can quickly become huge assets.  I’ve simply bundled these ideas internally to provide perspective, peace, and calm.  What’s the result?  I can honestly say as I sit here that I do not have an ounce of animosity to anyone or anything.  Instead of “I’ll show you”, it’s “I’ll help you”, and that feels so much better.

And every day, not just Thanksgiving, I give thanks.  And I would encourage you to do the same.

Have a great week.-Benj

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis.

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