Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the reality of turning points

I've so often been in a situation and made a decision telling myself 'THIS, is a turning point." But I'm always quite unequivocally wrong - looking back at my life, that decision had zero impact.

Instead, so much more often it's the things I had no control over or totally didn't intend that truly changed me or pushed me in ways that I was unprepared for, that ended up being crucial to everything I am today.

Here's an example:
- In high school, I worked like hell to get a great SAT score. I did it because I thought it would get me into the ivy league schools I wanted to go to. When I got my score, I was convinced that it was a turning point - that I would get into the school of my choice and the rest would be history
- Instead, I STILL didn't get in. I ended up at NYU...which of course has had an effect on me that I'll wait for another post to describe. Let's say it's a tremendous, integral part of who I am. Still, worth noting that it got me enough scholarship at NYU which means I dind't have loans after college (clutch!)
- My score also got me my sophomore year job teaching SAT's at Kaplan. This job ended up being tremendous on my resume (independence, leadership, intelligence, etc.), which proved to be useful in nearly every interview afterwards. In addition, it sparked the fundamental interest I have in all aspects of education, which is a huge part of who I am now.
- And this job at Kaplan - well in a great stroke of luck, it proved to be the reason that I was selected for my current project at Capgemini. I was (I believe) the first person in my hiring class to be put on a project, one that has ended up keeping me staffed and employed (quite happily) during one of the greatest recessions of our time. I cannot list the ways that having had this experience has changed me, but you'll have to take my word - it's been a revolution.

And so...I guess I'm making another argument for letting go of the reins.
Our own actions and intentions have such a minuscule affect on the outcomes of our lives that to spending time worrying about it, dreading it, planning it intricately, endows us with a false sense of control that can be debilitating if we're not prepared for everything to be turned upside down.

If you let go, and aren't afraid of falling (because you know there's a trampoline below you), then you can enjoy both the fall and the bounce back much more.