Everything that happens is a learning experience and makes you who you are. So, don’t cry because it’s over-smile because it happened!
We all have great and memorable experiences. Several years ago I drove a small car from London, England to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It was an epic adventure called ‘The Mongol Rally’. Myself and an amazing friend of mine spent sixteen days driving through Europe, countries of the former Soviet Union, and through Siberia before reaching our destination.
The end of the journey was an emotional one. The adventure was over and I’d be returning to my job in England. The perils of driving a Nissan Micra through the desert of Kazakhstan were over. We no longer had to buy fuel in languages we didn’t understand with money we didn’t recognise and we no longer had to deal with police and border guards trying to empty our wallets!
I was elated to reach Dave’s Bar on Sukhbaatar Square. Myself and my friend had achieved something! We had nursed a little runabout with a one litre engine along the potholed roads of Ukraine, through the fields of Kazakhstan, and along the still-to-be-constructed Trans-Siberian Highway.
Within hours of our arrival, the little red car was being unloaded and it was being cleaned out. One of the “rally rules” was that the vehicles would be auctioned off for charity and hopefully the cars and motorbikes would find use in Mongolia.
I was saddened to turn my back on a car that most people in the UK would’ve scrapped many years previously. It carried us over seven thousand miles in a little over two weeks. And like its passengers, it needed care and attention along the way. In my mind, it was the third member of our team.
Many people think that learning from your mistakes is the best way to live a happy life. I made mistakes during that journey. At times I was tired, and sometimes my emotions got the better of me. I snapped at my friend. I was hot, sweaty, dusty, dehydrated, and in need of a drink.
I learned a lot about myself during that adventure. I learned where my emotional, physical and spiritual pressure points are.
The Beginning in Bayganin
Learning how to overcome those pressure points is not entirely done. I can look back at that time, not with sadness, but with happiness. I smile because I think it was while feeling very alone, parked up for the night outside the town of Bayganin, I started to acknowledge a terrible feeling of despair that had been a burden for many years.
My relationship with my parents, with other members of my family, with friends and colleagues all, came under the spotlight in my mind that night. I knew something was wrong and I couldn’t quite figure it out. That frustration took many years to resolve.
Learning from my mistakes made me upset about everything that had happened in my past. However, learning from everything that had happened isn’t the same as regretting it. If you learn from something bad or wrong that you did, it’s not about having regrets or beating yourself up. It’s about learning from your mistakes positively and knowing what to do instead next time.
Worse things lead to better things if you guide them.
This is why learning from even the worst things in your life will make you a better person in the end. “Smile because it happened” is a way of showing that learning from the worst thing that has ever happened still has a lot of value. Life has ups and downs, but learning from both the good and bad things in your life will make you who you are. Who you want to be is up to you. Do you want to be contentful and relaxed with your life or full of remorse, resentment, and pain?
When something good happens in my life —a dream fulfilled, a promotion at work, or even just the perfect weather for a great outdoor event—it can be easy to get caught up in everything I’ve left behind or all that may lie ahead.
As much as I hate to admit it, every smile is accompanied by a tear and for everything I gain in life, something else must be left behind. However, this does not mean I should drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream whenever things go wrong or allow the fear of change to discourage me from chasing after my dreams. If I smile to hide my pain or leap without looking because I am too afraid to fail, eventually all the tears will catch up and ultimately become overwhelming.
Let things go. Release them.
By refusing to let go of either side of a fleeting moment in our lives, we create instability that prevents us from ever reaching our full potential.
In order for us to smile from the inside out, we must learn how to let go. Life is a journey that is meant to be shared with others and it can be a beautiful thing—don’t ruin it by focusing too much on the here and now.
Let go of fear, regret, and insecurity so you can smile at the sound of your own laughter.
Smile for any life-changing events that have made you into the person you are today, whether those experiences are good or bad. Learn how to let go of the moments that brought you pain but didn’t kill you. Instead, smile because every new day is the beginning of a new memory to come.
Smile because life is full of both tears and laughter; sad times as well as happy ones. When I accepted that life can be an emotional rollercoaster, I saw it for what it was. The ride is a long string of events; some good, some bad. All of them are an opportunity to learn and to improve my understanding of the world and myself.
The next time a smile comes your way, don’t be afraid to smile back. Then smile again. And smile once more for good measure. All that smiling will provide you with a positive outlook on life and help lead you towards the success you have been working so hard to achieve.
Thanks for being here while I broadcast my thoughts and experiences. Remember to follow this happy human on Twitter and leave comments. I’d love to know what you think!
All the best!
Matt The Happy Human