For the past year, I have had a Post-It note above my desk, scrawled with a quote that struck me. I’m notorious for pulling quotes from books, essays, blogs, and even conversations; if something resonates with me, I write it down, always. As a result, the walls around my desk are covered with taped-up scraps of paper, my journal is dog-eared for quick reference, books are filled with makeshift bookmarks, underlined passages, and the occasional “!!!” in a margin.
The note above my desk, it says
Experience what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted
This has resonated deeply with me over the past few weeks and months as I’ve sat here for countless hours, thinking and writing about the things that haven’t quite worked out as planned. You have to be careful with this kind of examination, as it can quickly and easily lead to a landslide of doubt, sadness, and fear.
But that quote kept me focused on what was important: in the wake of not getting what we want, we are left with lessons, knowledge, and opportunity. It has reminded me to take a few moments for sadness, doubt, and fear (because I am human after all), then to pull myself together and ask “now what?”
I’m continuously astounded to find that even when I feel the most lost, I always have a plan if I remember to seek it. When I focus on what I have instead of what I don’t, there is always some goodness.
This morning, a few hours before I started writing this, I looked up this quote. I wanted to know who said it, and in what context. In this search, I found that I had written the quote wrong, leaving out one word that changes the entire meaning. It feels so appropriate and perfect to realize this mistake. This Post-It is what I experienced when I didn’t get what I wanted (the original real quote), and it has changed everything.