THE BLOG
07/21/2014 12:13 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2014

How to Bloom Where You Are Planted

Pamela Joe McFarlane via Getty Images

We can't always choose the cards we have been dealt, but we can learn to play them. Like a flower that grows through a crack in the concrete, sometimes we have to make the best of our situations and bloom where we have been planted.

You may not be where you want to be in life just yet. You may be working a day job that is not your passion and working on your dream through the night.

Keeping our dreams alive is what uplifts the human spirit. But how can we deal with the fact that sometimes we may have to tolerate something that we do not like to eventually get to where we want to be?

Not everyone can quit their jobs and follow a dream. Sometimes our dreams take time. So instead of getting bitter and upset at your situation, why not try blooming where you have been planted?

Here is how I think we can do that and why it makes a difference:

1) Every step in life prepares you for the next one

You may not realize it, but where you are now is providing you with vital life lessons for your next adventure.

When late producer, director, author and screenwriter Michael Crichton was interviewed about how his training as a physician helped him to be a writer, he said this:

Being a doctor is good preparation for this because it teaches you to deal with the kind of life you will inevitably have. It teaches you to work well when you haven't had enough sleep. It teaches you to work well when you are on your feet. It teaches you to make decisions and live by them.


Every chapter in your life builds a foundation to launch the next chapter. So you have a choice. You can either feel sorry for yourself, wondering why you are not where you want to be and cursing the situation that you are in. Or you can look at this as a lesson. Ask yourself, "What is this here to teach me?" and "How can I use this experience to propel me to my ultimate goal?"

You may be in a difficult place right now so you can learn to shine your light so bright that it drowns out the darkness. Keep working towards your next step and understand that your destiny is not determined by your current circumstances.

So why not choose to be happy now?

2) Stop complaining

To truly blossom, you must stop complaining.

In one of my past jobs, I worked with two completely different people. One person was incredibly funny. She found humor in everything and nothing seemed to bother her. The other person complained all the time. Nothing could please her. My days working with my funny, calm colleague went by fast. However, I found that I had more stress on the days I worked with the colleague that complained about everything. Eventually, I started to distance myself from her.

Your job and circumstances may not be ideal right now. But you have to decide for yourself what you can change and what you cannot.

As Maya Angelou said,

If you don't like something, change it.
If you can't change it, change your attitude about it.


If the situation cannot be changed, you must learn to rise above it. What you tend to focus on, expands. Breathe energy into the positive things in your life.

3) Be a blessing

Look for ways to be a blessing to somebody. Your struggles have prepared you to be in the path of someone that needs what you can give.

Reasearch has shown that helping others can make us happier at work. In fact, Dr. James Fowler has found that individual happiness benefits others up to three degrees of separation in social networks. So by helping others to be happy, you are not only increasing your own happiness, but also affecting an entire community as well.

One day when I was in college, I was having a bad day. I was so stressed out and literally on the verge of tears. I went to grab something to eat at a fast food chain on campus and the cashier greeted me with a smile and such tremendous enthusiasm unlike anything I had ever seen. He worked the cash register as if he was Beethoven conducting a symphony.

I thought, "If this man can be so enthusiastic and positive all the time, why can't I?"

He became a legend at my school. Students from all walks of life remember how he made their days better with his enthusiasm. And I have not forgotten him in all the years since I have left college.

You can choose to be a blessing despite your own circumstances, and in doing so, inspire the lives of many others.

4) Bloom through the concrete

You may be in a situation where other people are not doing their best. Instead of expecting others to change, learn to change yourself. Don't let small things get to you. Like the eye at the center of a tornado, keep your tranquility even when the world around you is swirling.

If other people are late, you still arrive on time. If others have given up, you continue to persevere.

As Steve Jobs once said,

You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.


This chapter will somehow connect to the one that comes next, so you might as well attach yourself to your higher purpose and give it your best.

Learn to bloom where you are planted. Even if you find yourself planted under some concrete at the moment, look for the crack in the concrete to find your way out.

And despite all odds, choose to bloom anyways.

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