Green shirts were taken out of closets across the world as people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Friday marked the day that most people wear green to gain luck and to avoid getting pinched. Thousands of fourth medical students waited with eager anticipation to hear about their matches. Basketball players played in hopes of advancing to the next round in the NCAA March Madness Tournament(s). Each of these students and players hoped they would be lucky enough to get their top choice, or when their game and hopefully that happened. We would always hope that luck would find us, but things don’t always go as we would hope. Sometimes we aren’t so lucky and we lose a game or don’t get our top match. The following are a list of things we can cope when we are unlucky:
- Focus: When things go wrong it is easy to wallow in self-pity, but if we focus on the positive we will be better served. In every failure, there is an opportunity to grow. When we miss a free throw or lose a game we learn how to better next time. We watch the tape from our game and see where we went wrong. It is okay to feel upset when you lose or don’t get your top choice when applying for a program. Being upset shows that you cared and that you are human. The problem, however, lies in how long we allow ourselves how long we stay upset and how much effect on us. When it is all consuming and lingers on it becomes unhealthy. When we focus on the positive we are better in the long run. Losing a basketball game in the Big Dance means less practice and more time to rest after a long season. There are so many sacrifices we make when we play or sport or go to school, and we have a little more time for ourselves during our time off. Winning or getting our top choice would always be ideal, but there can be positives when we have to move in a different direction, or to a different state.
- Share: When things don’t go as planned share with others. Lean on other people and ask for support. When we don’t give voice to our emotions, or don’t share we lose the opportunity to get perspective. It is highly likely that someone else has experienced the feelings you are experiencing and gone through a similar experience before. That person might have insight or advice about what could be done differently in the future. Life wasn’t meant to be lived in isolation and it is very helpful when we turn to other people.
- Imagine: When you are unlucky imagine how things could have been worse. Maybe you could have lost by a larger deficit or gotten a choice for residency that would have taken you farther from your home state. When things don’t go the way had hoped we can’t imagine things being any worse, but there is always an outcome worse than the one we are faced with. When we imagine, we realize that we are not as misfortunate as we thought and are able to cope better. When we are able to imagine different alternatives, we are able to prepare for the future and learn from the past. Imagining the way things could have been makes it easier to live with our present reality. Maybe you could have lost by a larger deficit or gotten your last choice instead of your second.
Hopefully, we will be lucky more often than not, but fortune is not always guaranteed. Every now and then misfortune finds us and we must cope with disappointment. Our circumstances are not up to us, but what we do with them is. The way we process things is up to us and things that are listed above are just a few things you can do.