What I Learn When Things Go Wrong

Jordan Brown

When you commit to a goal or a new project, you're not just committing to the outcome.

You're also committing to whatever happens before the outcome--all the missteps and backslides, the sudden victories and crushing defeats.

In the mind, the world appears one way. But eventually it must meet reality and with what actually transpires in front of you.

This issue is about making those two ends meet, about bringing the mind and reality together.

This is about what I learn when things go wrong.

These lessons can apply to anyone.

Things Go Wrong - I Struggle Like Everyone Else

Recently, I've committed to expanding the mental health content I provide.

We're in the middle of a pandemic, and people are being more introspective than they normally are. I've wanted to capitalize on what seems like a mood shift related to mental health issues. The world seems more open to discussing them, so I've opened myself to connect in new and more impactful ways.

In my heart, I'll always consider myself a writer first and foremost. But there are other avenues for self-expression. Not all people consume content in the same way.

This week I attempted to publish a third video on YouTube. But Internet issues have gotten in the way, and I still haven't been able to upload it to YouTube. I've had connectivity issues where I am in Montana, and it made me realize how much I've come to rely on the Internet, especially when I'm forced to primarily connect with individuals online because of the coronavirus shutdown.

I also realized how much pressure I constantly put on myself. I wanted to publish a third video and share it with you because I promised myself I would. I told you as much. But it just wasn't in the cards.

I'm also in the middle of starting a mental health book club thanks to the excellent suggestion by  a Mental Health Update member, and it's taking a lot longer than I anticipated. It's piecemeal when I want to create the whole right away.

But, of course, nothing works like that. Entire projects don't simple appear in their full, completed form. There are always roadblocks along the way.

What I Learn When Things Go Wrong

This new video-publishing schedule and my plans for a mental health book club are just two of many things that went wrong--or what I consider to be "wrong"--during the course of this past week.

But that's how it always is, isn't it? The vision in the mind never matches reality. And that doesn't mean I'm a failure, nor does it mean that I've mistakes.

It means that life's road map follows its own course, and I'm hardly ever in control of what that course ends up being. What I am in control of, I learn with each detour of the road map, is that I have the ability to control how I respond. My mental health depends on it.

When things go wrong, I have the ability to reframe the meaning of what's happening to me. I get the chance to use it as a reminder of the important truth that I am the narrator of my own story, a story that continues as long as I give it meaning.

So no, my plans may not match up with my initial ambitions, but my vision is as clear as I make it to be. I can control that. I can control my attitude, and that's especially important during these uncertain times.

I'm just one person, but I feel more connected to the world when I share my story. How about you?