Last Saturday my family and I took to the mall to watch the much-awaited fourth installment of the Transformers movie franchise, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction and after four movies, I must say I’m still blown away by how good Michael Bay is as a director and how stunning the special effects are. I’m a little biased of course because I’ve been a fan of the Transformers since I was a kid. I’m sure most of the 80’s babies out there can relate to that.
An interesting thing happened though before we can even set foot in the mall. Being a Saturday, the place was packed and parking was a bit difficult. We circled around for more than 10 to 15 minutes waiting for someone to leave so we can get their spot. We caught a break when one of the SUVs parked a few steps away from the mall door started to rev its engine. I parked my car temporarily aside making sure to give the leaving SUV ample space to maneuver and while this was all happening, I saw another SUV who just arrived, stop directly behind us. At first I thought the driver stopped to give way to the leaving SUV but as soon as the other SUV left, he hurriedly took the spot I was waiting to occupy! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?
He hurriedly parked his vehicle even if I was honking at him repeatedly and I was furious. I stepped out of the car, went to his passenger side and as his lady companion rolled the window down, I told him: “We’ve been waiting for a couple of minutes and this is our spot. You just arrived and took it.” I said those words empathically but I didn’t raise my voice or threatened him in any way. I was surprised that it came out calmly even when my nerves were all shaking in anger already. I thought he would be stubborn and never vacate the spot but as soon as I’ve said what I said, he drove away. He did so without saying a word.
One of the things I learned from being a personal development blogger is to find meaning in everything that’s happening to me and this incident definitely gave me some insights on the parallels it has with life. Here are some of them.
Success can take time
Just as it took me a long time to get that parking spot, success is something that cannot be attained overnight. There’s no such thing as an “overnight success” which I know you’ve heard of before. We achieve success through hard work, determination and patience. The longer it takes, the more fulfilling it will be but some people doesn’t have the patience to wait and after experiencing failure or not seeing enough progress, they quit.
I was determined to get that parking spot. I drove around a couple of times until I saw that opening. I exercised patience when that other guy rudely took that spot. In the end, I achieved that goal. The other guy, however, wanted things the easy way and he almost got away with it.
The road to success is a long, straight path. There simply are no shortcuts.
We have different moral codes
One of my weaknesses as a person is my tendency to assume that everyone has the same values as I do. I even wrote in one of my articles that we should try to see the good in other people. I also believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Unfortunately, one of the ugly truths about life is that not everyone has the kindness you may possess. Not everyone, despite of their tainted past, takes that second chance they’ve been given.
Every time I see a car on hazard, parked near a car who’s already leaving, I don’t bother to wait anymore because I know that the owner of that car waited for his turn and that he’s definitely next so I just drive around one more time. I expected that other guy to do the same and I was surprised when he didn’t because instead of respecting my “claim”, he tried to take it away when he saw the opportunity.
Self-confidence will take you places
I am not the confrontational type ever since I was a kid. Most of the time, when someone offends me or does something wrong to me, I simply let it go but I realized later on in life that I can’t afford to be that way. I can’t allow anyone to make me their doormat and just walk all over me. I can’t allow anyone to simply disrespect me but I don’t have to get into a fight to make a statement.
When I walked over to that guy in the parking lot, I was confident because I knew I was right. In life we have to choose our battles and on that day, I chose to engage and I did it peacefully. Imagine what it would have done to my confidence have I just walked away and avoided confrontation. I also did it because I wanted to show my kids that in life, you have to stand for yourself. You have to be strong and be firm with your beliefs. You have to fight for what’s rightfully yours and earn other people’s respect in doing so.
Communication is Key
One of the reasons behind broken families and marriages is the lack of proper communication among the parties involved. Kids experience anxiety if they don’t get enough attention from their parents. Wives become doubtful of their husbands when they work too hard, come home late and leave the next morning without having a conversation.
Communication plays a big role in resolving conflicts. If the expectations are clearly laid out and everyone gets the chance to be heard, there’s no room for conflicts or disputes. That parking incident would have gone bad have I stormed out shouting at the top of my lungs while mouthing off bad words. To quote one of my favorite TV characters of all time, Kevin Arnold of The Wonder Years: “Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect them to”.
Life is full of surprises and our attitude determines how we respond to these unexpected events that may come in to our lives. You will get shocked, you will get disappointed, you will be glad. Whatever emotion comes to you, always remember to do the right thing. ALWAYS.
Question: Has there ever been a unique situation in your life you’ve drawn life lessons from unexpectedly?
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