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We Interrupt This Program For a Message From the Universe

Gist: It’s common to misinterpret fear or confusion as a bad “sign from the universe.”


Just a few weeks ago, I returned from what’s become one of the greatest trips of my life. There were a lot of challenges and a number of things didn’t work out quite right, but I still look back on it as a great experience, and I’m glad I did it. In fact, I plan to do it again, and soon.

It’s becoming increasingly popular these days to “tune into the universe” to find out what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. The idea seems to be that life is supposed to be easy, and if you’re running into many problems with the path you’re on, then you need to “listen to the universe” and go do something else.

Personally, when life gets too easy for too long, I start to get bored. I need a challenge in my life, and challenges—by definition—are not easy. If we grow, learn, and improve by stepping outside our comfort zones, then we’ll inevitably run into circumstances where it feels like the whole universe is telling us to give up. And how we respond to those circumstances will determine if we get what we really want.

There’s certainly merit in being adaptable and knowing when to try a different course, but the problem I have with messages from the universe is that they downplay your own control over your life—don’t worry about what you really want to do, just ask the universe.

To be honest, I like to listen to the universe too, but only when it tells me good things. If something I’m working on turns out perfectly, then sure, “Thanks, Universe, for helping me out with that. You were right all along.”

When something’s hard and the universe seems to be telling me to stop, I politely ignore it and buckle down for the difficult road ahead. I don’t think it’s the universe’s job to tell me what to do. It can steer me in different directions, but I choose the course.

A Response to The Universe

If you’re in a spot where the universe seems to be telling you to give up, maybe what it’s really saying is to ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Why am I really doing this? Is there a deeper purpose to this? You don’t always have to know what it is, but without the hint of one, maybe it is time to move on.
  • How will I actually feel when I’m done? Are you doing this for yourself, or are you just trying to make someone else happy?
  • Is there another path to the same goal? You can change your course without changing the desired outcome. Have you looked at other possibilities?
  • What parts are saying “yes”? If the universe seems to be saying no, maybe it’s only a matter of perspective. If something’s going wrong, something else is usually going right. Try focusing your attention there.

These are the questions I ask myself when the world seems to be telling me “no.” They help me reframe the situation and get back to work on what’s really important to me.

How you respond to “messages from the universe” is, of course, entirely up to you though. And I’m curious to know what your strategy is.

How do you respond when the universe tells you something you don’t want to hear? Share your answer in the comments.


For more on how to be awesome and do your own thing, I recommend this article from Matt at No Meat Athlete and this one from Johnny B. Truant, Fonzie of the Internet.

Image by: morganglines

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