Sunday, May 26, 2013

Does it happen for a reason?

Does it happen for a reason?:
Small children and dogs are certain that everything is aimed at, designed for, or in reaction to them. To quote Jim Holt, "Why does it rain in the spring? So the crops will grow!"
Of course, things that happen often happen for no reason. At least no reason having anything to do with us. Reasons are nearly always the things we make up to explain what happened, not the actual cause of what happened. Whether it's the bird that just messed up your new car wash or the job that you didn't get because a thousand people applied, there's a lot more randomness in the world than we'd care to admit.
There are two things to be done with that fact. The first is to identify the few things that do happen for a reason and learn from them, as opposed to ignoring the available lesson. When cause and effect is at work, figuring out the cause is the single best way to manage the effect.
And the second is to take the (essentially) random events and choose to respond (as opposed to an overreaction). The big opportunity is to figure out how to take advantage of the change that was just handed to us, even if it wasn't for us, about us, or what we were hoping for.