Carol the Coach: Three Types of Enlightenment

Albert Schweitzer said "Success does not create happiness but happiness creates success."

Knowing how to process life allows you to make the most of it. The most enlightened people are those who process life by looking at it one of three ways. Could you look at life this way?

The first type of enlightenment has to do with something called "enlightenment hind sight." That’s when you engage in the normal routine of life and look back at it and know that you should've done something differently. Your boss criticizes you for not having your report ready and you say to yourself, "I should've stayed at work late last night to get that finished."

Your husband comes home and asks for a divorce and you say to yourself, "I should've seen that coming."

Your child gets benched on his soccer team and you tell yourself, “I should've spent more time working with him on his game."

The "shoulds" aren't really motivating but they do allow you some enlightenment in that it gives you an opportunity to look back and see the different choices you could make in the future.

The second type of enlightenment has to do with reframing. Something happens to you and you ask yourself what did I learn from it and how has it helped me to grow stronger?

Your boss criticizes you for not having that report ready. You tell yourself that you need to see this as an opportunity to change your life and create more structure so that your reports are always done two days before the due date. You create a calendar and make the needed changes that provide you the structure you need to feel organized and successful.

Your husband asks for a divorce and you tell yourself that you're going to invest more of your own personal time in relationships. You begin this process with your friends and your children and you feel empowered by your new insight. Your personal relationships flourish and you develop a new form of intimacy that enhances every relationship you make. You feel blessed that your relationships are so solid.

Your child gets sidelined on the soccer team and you help your child to strategize how you might look at this as a teachable moment. As difficult as the situation is, you talk to your child about how he can support his team. You explain that this opportunity may help him be a coach someday because he is getting extra experience at observing the players in a different way.
The last type of enlightenment requires that you "play it forward" which means before you react you play it forward in your mind and decide what is the kindest and healthiest choice to make in perceiving a situation.

This may look like:

  • Your boss criticizes you for not having the report ready and you use it as a guide to appreciate his feedback as opposed to getting defensive.
  • Your husband asks for a divorce and you react in love and not fear or anger.
  • Your child gets sidelined and you thank the coach for giving him extra time to mature and observe.

These three types of enlightenment create resiliency and insight. It doesn't insure that YOU get what you want but it insures that you decide how life will affect you. Practice using any of these types of enlightenment and notice how different you feel about you, your life and your situation.