Growing up, many of us rebelled when our parents told us “no.” In the moment, we resented the fact that we had to study instead of seeing friends or come home for curfew instead of staying out. But looking back, chances are you’re grateful for the discipline and tough love because it shaped you into the person you are today.
The same principle applies to our professional lives. When we don’t get what we want, we may be disappointed at the time, but it was ultimately a blessing in disguise. Losing that job led to taking a leap of faith and starting your own business. Getting turned down for a promotion motivated you to get out of your comfort zone and focus on networking, which led to a higher-paying position at another company. When life doesn’t go according to plan, we’re forced to reexamine what we really want, reassess how we want to get there and oftentimes tap into underutilized skills that help put us on a path more aligned with our passion and purpose.
Here are five reasons why not getting your way is a good thing:
1. You’re more prepared going forward.
When things don’t turn out the way we hoped, we can either go into victim mode or fighter mode. The pain that follows a disappointment is your greatest teacher. It serves as a reminder that you don’t want to repeat the past, and instead, make choices that will bring you closer to success and fulfillment. Remember, pain can be a powerful driving force if you let it.
2. You’re forced to work differently, which builds character.
When you experience a letdown, it’s tempting to think that just working harder will produce the desired results. However, doing more of the same thing oftentimes just leads to more of the disappointing outcomes you already don’t like. What’s a different way of thinking and working that might set you more powerfully on the path forward? Not getting what you want forces you to expand your learning agility, which is a hallmark of the most successful and fulfilled professionals.
You’ve seen firsthand that patience and perseverance pay off. Regardless of how challenging it is, you develop a nimble and agile approach that allows you to rise above adversity and find the opportunity.
3. It gives you an opportunity to shift your focus.
It’s during life’s challenges that we’re forced to self-reflect and look within. We develop greater self-awareness by thinking about ways we can improve going forward. It’s a chance to become better versions of ourselves.
4. You’re more confident to handle obstacles in the future
When you’re brave enough to face your fears head-on, you emerge a more confident version of yourself. After proving to yourself that you can do it, you believe in yourself more as a result.
Throughout life, there will always be difficult people and stressful situations to test you. Not getting your way builds character and teaches you how to keep going when the going gets tough. It’s a testament to your inner strength.
5. You learn to trust the timing of your life
You see it’s a mistake to compare your life to anyone else’s and realize you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
When you look back on your life experiences, you’ll likely be surprised by your own journey. Look at how everything has fallen into place and worked out better than you planned. All the so-called setbacks and disappointments turned out to be blessings.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”