I came across a quote recently that stopped me in my tracks; “No event in life has any meaning other than the meaning you put on it.” When I first read it I thought “oh, that sounds good. I like that, yeah.” I then moved on, not considering the power of this too deeply. I then read it again and again until the idea fused in my mind. Then I considered the impact of what this really means. To me it was the opening up of a completely new perspective on the world. An opportunity to see everything with a fresh pair of eyes, a chance to take real control of my journey. You can change the meaning of things. You can develop a more helpful outlook on all events.
With something so profound I couldn’t help but write about it. So here i am writing about it. So let’s walk through what it really means, why is it so powerful?
Let’s start by considering a few examples. Think of an occasion where you were in your car, you get cut off and the ensuing rage becomes difficult to contain. Perhaps you allow some expletives to escape from your lips. You throw every colourful term you have at your disposal in order to direct your rage at the other driver. Putting yourself in a foul mood for the morning. Now the same thing happens to someone else, they don’t shout at the other driver, they simply let it go. They think “Oh they must be in a hurry.”
This is a demonstration of you putting your meaning onto a situation. Both events are the same, however, the reaction is completely different. This is because you, yourself has subconsciously applied a meaning to the situation. You have thought, whether consciously or subconsciously, that person cut me off therefore they are an absolute moron and shouldn’t be driving around. That meaning didn’t come from anywhere other than your own mind. You have absolutely no knowledge of the real circumstances. You have projected your meaning on to the event.
Now let’s explore another more business based example. You go into a sales meeting all full with hope, it is going well until for some reason it takes a turn for the worse. You are losing the prospects interest but you can’t see why. They finally say “You know what, this isn’t for us.” They walk out and your sale collapses. You then turn around and say that guy just didn’t get it did he? Next time I will make sure I am talking to someone who “gets it.”
Someone else may go through this same experience but put a different meaning onto it completely. They think it didn’t work and are excited that it is a chance to learn more. An opportunity to understand why. They follow up the meeting with a phone call thanking the prospect and asking for a little more feedback. It gives them new insights into their sales pitch and helps them improve for next time.
It is fairly obvious which one of these are more helpful to the individual and their business. However, the same thing is going on. A meaning from within yourself is being placed on an event. That meaning can be helpful or unhelpful to you. It is 100% your choice. Whatever happens in your life you can put whatever meaning you want onto it. You have the power to define what any event means in your life. I hope you will agree, that is something truly incredible.