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  • Brooke

Chill Out

Sometimes life doesn't always go the way we planned it... Okay, most of the time our plans get changed and that causes so much frustration. Yet, somehow it all turns out alright.

I am a planner. Not an intense planner where I have to have every single detail written down or else I cannot sleep, but I do like to lay things out. It helps me organize and know what to prepare for when the time comes. Now, when I make a plan I expect it all to go exactly how I planned it. For example, for my senior year of college I had a project to finish in order to graduate. My project was to orchestrate and produce an EP (extended-play of a record or compact disc). The semester prior, I was to come up with a plan and write it out for approval and I did just that. I chose the artist to record, I set up times to reserve the studio, and I scheduled when I wanted to get certain tasks done. It would all come together beautifully and it would be the best project ever recorded in the history of audio projects. Well, you might have already guessed that the project didn't really go as planned, and you're right.

No, my perfectly planned out schedule did not pan out quite the way I wanted it to. One thing after another started coming up and soon enough it was only a few weeks until the presentation. The stress level was raised 1000%. In fact, due to everything being backed up, I was in the studio sun up to sun down the final week before the presentation. I'm probably over exaggerating that part a little bit, but only a little. I was in there so much that someone asked me if I lived there. Ultimately, everything worked out and I graduated but could the project have been better? Of course it would have, given that everything worked the way I originally planned it.

Fast forward a year and I am in the middle of a situation where I am reminded to chill out. During a church service, I had planned to show a quick transitional video right before the worship set. It tied into the sermon and into the music, and I was so excited about how it would bring everything together. Well, the countdown was started way after it was supposed to start. Strike one. Then they couldn't get the video to play. Strike two. Finally, time already ran out and it was time to start the service. Strike three. At that moment I was faced with two choices; to let it go or to get extremely aggravated. I would have loved to tell you that, with a great attitude, I decided to move on because it's only a minor inconvenience but I would be stretching the truth a little. No, I became very annoyed at the situation and it really ruined my day. I allowed that one problem to control my happiness at the moment instead of looking at it as a learning opportunity. Just thinking about how I handled it makes me cringe.

That very evening I evaluated myself and knew I needed to make changes. I needed to see every opportunity as a time to learn and to grow instead of breaking down under pressure. Since then, I can tell you that everything has been a lot easier. Have I had to deal with stressful situations? Yes. Am I happy with how I handled those situations? Not 100% of the time, but I can say that I have been more content no matter which way those situations ended. Why? Because I have acknowledged that plans change and circumstances happen, but it's up to me to determine how I react to them. If I approach situations with the attitude of gratitude, knowing that they are potential learning opportunities, the problems shrink and cannot control who I am. Believe me, it changes your whole outlook!

So, as you approach life, know that there will be problems that will arise and that your plans won't always go the way you wanted them to go. But that's okay. Use every opportunity you have, during the good times and the bad, to learn and to grow. Here's the most important part, though. You must take on life with a heart of gratitude, otherwise disappointment and failure will get the best of you. When you begin to see the world through the lens of thankfulness, nothing can stop you or keep you down.