Reality Check: Forge on

Have you ever felt that events you can’t control are conspiring against you? If so, you might feel like pulling the covers over your head and crying, “Why me?”

It can be tempting to believe that we have no choice in how we respond, and that’s how Jordan feels right now. From his perspective, his future has been blown to smithereens, and it’s not his fault.

Jordan had created a clear-cut plan for the future with his girlfriend. He thought they agreed on everything: where they’d live, where they’d get their education. They would graduate together; they would marry; they would work together. His direction was clear; the vision picture-perfect.

Everything was starting to come together. The happy couple had both been accepted by their preferred university and they were getting ready to move.

Then his girlfriend dumped him. He didn’t see that coming!

Now, “discouraged” doesn’t begin to describe how Jordan feels. His future is ruined! All he wants to do is sit on the couch. Maybe, someday, he’ll be a labourer. Maybe, someday, he’ll go to different university. Maybe he’ll join the circus…

The one thing Jordan is sure of is that he can’t go to that university and face the prospect of seeing his ex having a great time while he is lonely, miserable, and humiliated.

However, it’s probably too late to go elsewhere this year. Even if he could, he would lose all of his carefully planned scholarship money. He’s not only lost his girlfriend, he’s lost his future. His whole life is suddenly out of his control.

Now is a good time for a reality check, isn’t it?

Jordan’s career plan had been well thought out. His choices of where to go and what to do were based on solid information. He had considered the costs and the benefits. He had made a good career decision.

But now, he says, “That future is no longer an option. I can’t do it.”

Really? Let’s go back to that classic question, “What do you want?”

“I want my girlfriend back, and I want the career I had chosen.”

Jordan’s first want—his girlfriend—is simply not an option. It takes two to make a relationship. She doesn’t want him, and Jordan can’t control what she wants.

But has she also taken away Jordan’s career?

No. A university is big enough for two people, even if those two people never want to speak to each other. It’s within her power to break up the relationship. It’s not within her power to control Jordan’s career.

What can he do? Think about which scenario will bring Jordan more satisfaction a year from now: If he stays home moping on the couch? Or if he goes to university despite his broken heart, studies every night (nothing else to do) and is on the way to achieving his career goal?

When we consider our long-term goals and take action, even a small action, that moves us in the general direction of those goals, this can be a very powerful antidote to the feeling of discouragement.

Would you also suggest that Jordan forge on?

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