Just recently, I transitioned from being a flight attendant in Miami to pursuing a MBA program in my small, quiet hometown in Pennsylvania. While I thought it would be a great decision to continue school, it ended up turning into a disaster. The person who I thought would be battling out the program with me, decided to take his life in another direction…one that didn’t involve me at all. I now find myself at an all-time low- one where I try to mend my broken heart and balance 4 highly intensive graduate classes, a graduate assistant position, and the start-up of a new active-wear business, ArcAngel Apparel. While I am often overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, I have faith that things will get better soon. When I recently read the fourth principle from the book, Happiness Advantage, about how one can capitalize the “down times” in his or her life to bring about greater good, I knew that it was not by coincidence. I needed to hear those reassuring words.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the book is found within the fourth principle. It is about “finding a third path”. The author, Shawn Achor, explains that when adversity strikes, we are faced with 3 paths:
1. The first is where one circles around his or her current negative situation
2. The second is where he or she gravitates towards an even more negative situation
3. The third is where he or she uses the negative situation to propel towards a positive outcome.
Reflecting upon this, I realized that upon moving home, I became stuck on the first path. I have been focusing on all the ways my current life situation has kept me from living out the life I truly desire. My mind has become a whirlwind of all the instances where “If I had done this instead…” maybe the situation would be different now. Essentially, I have become lost because of the adversity I experienced- an adversity caused by a failed attempt at loving someone who simply did not and does not care about me. I realize now that I need to convert all the negative energy into a determined mindset… one where I MUST reach my goals. Ultimately, I will need to navigate to a third path.
In terms of leadership, this is essential. If I plan to launch a clothing company that embodies the qualities I think our souls should- that is, strength, durability, and virtuosity- I need to make sure that my own soul is living within those dimensions. I need to meet people who will support my vision and realize my worth. Essentially, I need to become surrounded with people who “appreciate assets”, as Shawn Achor describes it. These people are the ones who see value in creating and maintaining lasting relationships and invest in others’ well-being.
I think the most logical way to go about finding a third path is to focus on becoming a living-asset to others before expecting them to do so for me. This will require stepping out of my comfort zone and making an effort to build a support system. For this reason, I plan to take this week to find at least one club I can join at college. I also plan to incorporate random acts of kindness, fasting, and prayer within my week. By the grace of God, and by utilizing my strong interpersonal skills to help others, I think that my life will be changed. The seemingly hopeless situation I am in will eventually blossom into something beautiful. It may just take time.