Lately I’ve been thinking about unpleasant events that have occurred in my own life and in the lives of others and marveling at not only the human ability to choose how to view those events, but also the initially-hidden gifts many of those events reveal with time. Let me share an amazing story from several years ago that illustrates my point. A dear friend of mine contacted me and said her mother had fallen in the garage and was seriously injured. During the course of her hospitalization, it was discovered she had a cancerous growth on her kidney that likely wouldn’t have manifested symptoms for many years down the road and at a point where intervention would have been far less effective. Because of her fall, the growth was caught much earlier and the length and quality of her life was greatly extended and improved. Now, obviously that story is a major event, but even much smaller events can make a difference. I often think of this when a slow driver pulls out in front of me as I’m driving. I say “thank you” because, for all I know, that act of slowing me down may have prevented something unpleasant from happening. How about when you miss a plane, then end up on the next flight, sitting next to someone wonderful? Or you don’t get the job you’re sure you want, only to have a better one come along shortly thereafter? One of my favorites involves getting fired! Yes, really. Whenever someone tells me they’ve been fired, I congratulate them because my experience has been that, a year in the future, they often say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Over and over, we have evidence that unpleasant events, when perceived with a positive outlook, can become some of the best disasters that have ever happened to us. Personally, one of my favorites is my boyfriend dumping me when I was 19. Really…I’m not kidding. Here’s why: I was dragging along in a job I hated, unmotivated to experience the necessary discomfort to find a new job. When my boyfriend told me he preferred my best friend to me, I was so devastated and miserable, I thought “What the Hell…life stinks anyway…I may as well make myself more uncomfortable in the hopes that things get better”. So I quit my job that day and signed up for the community college. That led to an Associate’s degree, then a Bachelor’s degree, then a Master’s degree, and finally, a Ph.D. Prior to that catastrophic event in the life of a 19-year-old, I had no intention of going on for higher education. None of the wonderful things that have resulted from my education would have happened if I hadn’t been dumped unceremoniously. I would love to hear your own tales of unpleasant events turning out to be gifts in disguise. Please share your stories as a way to offer support and hope to those who are going through such events currently in their lives.