Have you ever tried to make everything just right, and then something comes along and upsets it all, and yet in the end things work out just fine, in ways you never could have expected?
We can sometimes get so attached to an idea of how things should be, that we’re at risk of completely missing out on even more enjoyable and fulfilling possibilities. It’s great to imagine and intend certain specific outcomes. Yet it’s important to allow those visions to empower us while at the same time not allowing them to limit us.
So how do you do that, exactly? How do you focus on getting something done in a specific fashion in the real world, while at the same time being flexible about how life actually plays out?
One way is to keep your motivation as deeply rooted as possible. There is a reason why you want to make everything just right. That reason is the important thing. The “everything just right” part is just one particular expression of that reason. If your plans don’t work out, if everything does not turn out just right, the underlying reason is still there. And, importantly, there are plenty of other ways to express that purpose.
Imagine, for example, that your purpose is to travel to Barbados. Now, with such a relatively superficial purpose, there are even deeper purposes that underlie it, but for now we’ll just proceed with the desire to go to Barbados as your primary driving purpose. So, with going to Barbados as your purpose, you get yourself to the airport and purchase a ticket on Flight 123 to Barbados. At that point, not only do you still have the general purpose of going to Barbados, you now also have a specific expression of the purpose, which is your participation in Flight 123.
Unfortunately, Flight 123 gets delayed for several hours. That’s a big setback, right? Things are not going the way you planned with Flight 123. However, even with the delay, Barbados is still there, and you still have it as your purpose, and eventually you will get there. Then, Flight 123 is canceled altogether. Now things are really not working out very well. You might be tempted to become frustrated, angry, resentful, spiteful, or dejected. But all that negative energy really has nothing to do with the underlying desire to go to Barbados. The negativity is connected with just one specific expression, just one particular instance of that underlying desire, namely Flight 123.
So you remind yourself of the original purpose, pick yourself up and go to make arrangements for another flight. When you do that, there’s more distressing news. The reason your flight was canceled is that the airport in Barbados has been closed due to a problem with the runway. There will be no flights in or out for the foreseeable future.
Even so, even with all the obstacles, your original purpose is still intact. You could choose to get yourself all upset by the fact that you won’t be able to fly to Barbados, but it would accomplish nothing other than to bring you down. So instead, you look for alternatives and discover that a cruise ship is leaving to go to Barbados, and there’s an available cabin. You get yourself to the cruise terminal, board the ship, and you’re on your way to Barbados.
The journey itself is much more enjoyable than any plane flight you’ve ever been on. And what’s more, while on the ship you meet a very special person — someone who shares your passion for going to Barbados and with whom you develop a beautiful relationship that you know will continue for the rest of your life. And then, on top of it all, you get to Barbados.
Stepping off the ship with your newfound soulmate, you get a text message on your cell phone. The airport has re-opened and there’s a place for you on Flight 123. But now, of course, Flight 123 doesn’t matter. And what you happily realize is, it never really did.