Friday, October 26, 2007

Isn't it Ironic?

It’s like rain on your wedding day, the good advice that you just didn’t take.
Ironic, Alanis Morisette

How we struggle with life’s ironies. Or as we say in psychology, hindsight is 20:20. The key is to be able to move on. Preferably, we’d like move on and learn something.

I’ve heard a lot about unhappy endings this week. Actually, I hear a lot about unhappy endings most weeks. There are ways to look at these endings, whether it’s the end of a relationship, the manuscript rejected, or the job interview flubbed, in healthy, positive and productive ways.

Unlucky (not worthless). I’ve borrowed this from sports. It wasn’t a bad shot, it just missed by a hair: unlucky. The pitch was a little more inside than planned, but not terrible, just unlucky. It wasn’t stupid to try the relationship, it just turned out unlucky. The manuscript wasn’t awful, the editor didn’t like your sense of humor: unlucky. You didn’t totally blow the job interview, the interviewer just didn’t think you’d be a good fit: unlucky. I have a folder for certain editor communications called…you got it, unlucky.

Where’s the learning edge? Now that you’ve accepted that you’re not a worthless individual who doesn’t deserve a relationship, to be published or to have a job, it’s time to consider what you might learn from the experience. What is it about this relationship I do not want to repeat in the future? Similarly, what did I like that I would like to see in the next relationship? Do I edit the manuscript to change the tone, or just try another editor? Preferably one with a sense of humor more like my own. What was I weak on in the interview and how can I improve on it? What did I do well?

What opportunities does this present? As most of us acknowledge at the end of a relationship, it probably wasn’t going to help our happiness much in the long term. The manuscript rejected might be improved or it might force me to send it someplace that’s a bit of a stretch. If the interviewer didn’t care for me, I might not care for the company. And a better opportunity might come along tomorrow.

If all else fails, remember: whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

And remember, even when you’re focused on the pain of it

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end
Closing Time, Semisonic

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