These are the cards that life dealt me is how we put it when we things don’t fall our way and that is most certainly true, but feels incomplete. Yes, life deals us particular cards, but who says we don’t have the freedom to pursue the rest of the deck?

That is how we see our mistakes. This is how we frame all the things that go wrong in our life. We see them as unfortunate set of circumstances. We fall into fatalism. Believe that this is who we are, this is how life is, and that there is very precious little we can do about it, but that’s wrong.

On the surface when a couple gets married, the congregation can see the couple exchange vows and say yes to one another as a life partner, but there is something invisible at play as well. At the exact same time they make a promise to each other, they are simultaneously saying no to everyone else. So for every one yes, there is an implied and automatic seven billion no’s. Thats a lot of zeros and a lot of words.

Some time ago I had the desire to be a vice principal. I’m not sure why. I felt unsatisfied with life so I undertook what everyone recommended and pursed the next academic venture. I enrolled in a principal’s course and after two years successfully competed the program. That spring I applied to become a vice principal for the school board that I work with.

As an aside I should probably say that throughout my life I always say what I mean and never speak what I think other people want to hear, because I know that in the end you end up with things you didn’t really want or aren’t really good at. So I am assuming I said the wrong things for the right reasons, because I was passed over. I was actually congratulated, if we are to get very specific, but the superintended realized her mistake eventually and whispered “oh no, I mean’t the other bald man”, and with that came my first rejection.

After I licked my wounds and sufficiently recovered, I decided to try again with another Catholic school board, thinking my love of Jesus had to get me somewhere, but I got passed over again. I got rejected sooner in the process than my own school board.

Once again it took a little time to lick my wounds and press my feelings into proper shape but I decided to try again and applied to the public board. You won’t believe this, I was passed over yet again. This time, I wasn’t even granted an interview. They didn’t even want to speak to me. I wasn’t good enough to be even given a chance in person.

And so there I was. Trained as the next vice principal, having been rejected three times. Those were the cards that I was dealt, and not a day goes by today, that I don’t get down on my knees and thank God that I was passed over, quicker and quicker each time.

I wasn’t meant to leave the classroom. I wasn’t meant to trade what I know and can do for an office to deal with the bureaucratic sewage system that is public education.

I was saved from myself and it was shortly after this that I attended a three day business seminar and the current path that I am on began.

We often only see the cards we are deck. We want the queen of hearts or the jack of spades. We want this and we want that, and we measure ourselves and we measure everything in our life against what we have and what we want. 

The key to happiness and fulfillment is to belong where you are meant to belong. My dad had a saying when I was growing up. If its really hard, than you’re doing it all wrong. He didn’t mean hard work. He meant that some things that we want, that are going painfully slowly may not be for us at all, and that we should focus on the other seven billion no’s if the yes we seek falls through.

Cover photo generously provided by photographer Ines Ferreira