Posted by: Simon | June 2, 2008

Lessons in life from the everyday

If you wish to subscribe to this blog please click the Entries RSS link on the lower right hand side.

I have been off the air for a little while. I had a four day weekend camping down the coast with my children. It was fantastic. My wife couldn’t join us as she got sick and therefore resting at home was the best option for her. The weather was cool but the days were sunny. Even though it was the last few days of autumn and winter was just about upon us my children went swimming in the ocean. They laughed and giggled the whole time. We kicked the football around on the beach and toasted marshmallows each night while playing charades. A great short break away.

The night before that weekend away I accidentally killed the computer that I use everyday. Completely disabled it when I introduced a Trojan which screwed the operating system. I should have known better. I got very angry. I tried to fix it before we left. I couldn’t and got frustrated. I don’t like to be defeated with things like this. I had a quick choice to make – let it ruin the weekend ahead or just park it for the time being. It wasn’t easy but I forced myself to do the latter, almost challenging my inner self not to let this ruin a weekend that I had been planning for some time and my children were looking forward to.

Getting away from the situation, changing my location and what I was doing helped me gain some perspective that I had been sorely missing at home in the study. I realised:

1. It wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, as best I could tell the world was continuing on merrily in spite of my computer woes. It actually didn’t matter as much as I initially told myself. I also needed to not take things out on those around me.

2. Creating some space and time away from the situation to think with less emotion was very valuable. This situation afforded me that opportunity. I came up with a plan of action which included a number of options depending on what my investigations found. It was logical not emotional.

3. I actually had just been given a gift and was very lucky rather than cursed. I had the opportunity to de-clutter, organise and simplify my computer. No more programs of dubious worth slowing things down and data of little value clogging the storage space. I could now run a lean, high performance computer that attracted me and made using it even more enjoyable.

4. I was actually doing the most important thing I could be. I was being with my family and actually being present. In GTD terms I was in the wrong ‘context’ to fix the computer – I was down the coast not at home – and once I accepted that there was nothing I could therefore do I was able to relax.

Although I have heard and read people say that from problems come opportunities I have not had much experience applying this notion in my personal life. To do so here, to be happy with the choices I made, to learn some lessons about myself was tremendous.

Have you had a similar experience of turning a problem into an opportunity? What did you do? How did you do it? What did you learn?

Please use the comments area to discuss.


  1. I’m glad you’re back. I was wondering if a dangerous Australian outback creature had gotten you!

    I think the most recent example of making lemonade from lemons would be with my job. Friday is my last day. After 10 years with this school district, I am a little sad. I was promoted into this position last summer and it has not worked out. There are many hidden agendas and I don’t play those games. I prefer to be me and be who I am, not an admin Stepford wife. SO through this I started my own business. I am very excited about it and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me there. I think it will be a wonderful experience and will allow me to be me and do what I do best in education. I am pumped!

    PS. Do they put a different spell check on your computers down under? You guys spell things differently!

  2. I guess for many of us it would be easy to remain in our comfort zones even if we were not entirely happy. A great example of turning a problem into an opportunity.

    I didn’t see this at the time but when I had just finished university I had my heart set on a particular job. I had been through a long interview process and felt confident I would be picked up as a graduate. I was shattered when they called to say no. That possibility hadn’t entered my mind. What I see now is that I was given an opportunity to go in a different direction, which I did. I am so glad it worked out that way now – I wouldn’t change things for a minute.


    And yep there are some differences in spelling between US and Australian English. Labour, colour, centre, defence, realise etc.

  3. Isn’t it amazing. I really believe that when God closes doors, he opens windows! I’m glad it worked out for you. I am really praying that it does for me as well!!! :O)

Leave a response

Your response: