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The Dalai Lama, a beacon of peace and wisdom, offers this surprising perspective: “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” In a world focused on achieving goals, this quote reminds us that disappointment can hold hidden blessings. Let’s delve into the power of this philosophy, when it’s most helpful, and when a different approach may be needed.

The Unexpected Path to Greater Good

Our lives are unpredictable. Plans get derailed, relationships falter, and dreams seem out of reach. The Dalai Lama’s words suggest that these setbacks can be opportunities in disguise. We may be so focused on a specific outcome that we miss the unexpected paths opening before us.

Imagine a musician devastated when rejected from a prestigious orchestra. Heartbroken, they start their own ensemble, finding artistic freedom and greater fulfillment than they ever imagined. A couple longing for a child might, after years of struggle, adopt, discovering the immense joy of parenthood in a way they hadn’t anticipated.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel frustration or grief when things don’t go our way. However, a long-term view allows for the possibility that the universe might have a better plan in store.

When to Apply This Wisdom

The Dalai Lama’s outlook is potent in these situations:

  1. Rigid Expectations: If your plan fails, consider alternative paths, new possibilities you might have dismissed before.
  2. Growth Opportunities: Sometimes not getting what you want pushes you out of your comfort zone, leading to surprising self-discovery and new skills.
  3. Resilience Building: Embracing this concept builds emotional resilience, knowing that even disappointments can lead to positive life developments.

When This Might Not Apply

While this outlook holds deep wisdom, there are times when continued striving is essential:

  1. Fighting Injustice: Facing systemic oppression or discrimination isn’t an opportunity for passive acceptance, but a call for action and perseverance.
  2. Health and Safety: Waiting for a ‘stroke of luck’ when it comes to critical medical conditions or threats to your safety is dangerous. Proactive problem-solving is crucial.
  3. Basic Needs: If core needs for food, shelter, and well-being aren’t met, this philosophy can become a way to excuse complacency instead of advocating for necessary change.

Finding the Balance

The Dalai Lama’s concept teaches us to find a balance between determined pursuit of goals and acceptance when things don’t unfold as planned. It cultivates flexibility, openness to new possibilities, and a peaceful trust that disappointments can often be the seeds of unexpected and beautiful growth.

While we’ll always encounter life’s curveballs, this outlook empowers us to see setbacks with a mix of acceptance and curiosity. Remember, not getting what you want doesn’t mean failure. It might just be the universe redirecting you towards something even greater.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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