When Things Go Wrong
Goodness is not far behind.
Published: November 12, 2011
by Alan Cohen
Life always works in your favor.
Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live.
─ Jacqueline Winspear
Just before Christmas one year, Rob Anderson went into a convenience store to purchase three $1 Powerball lottery tickets as stocking stuffers. The clerk misunderstood Anderson’s request and erroneously printed one $3 ticket. When Anderson called the mistake to the clerk’s attention, the clerk offered to nullify the ticket. Anderson decided to just go with the event, so he accepted the ticket and purchased the three $1 stocking stuffers in addition. Rob went home and tossed the mistaken ticket on his nightstand.
The day after Christmas the winning numbers were announced and Anderson figured he would check the mistaken ticket just in case. That was when he realized the mistake was no mistake. He had just won $128 million, the largest Powerball jackpot ever paid in the Kentucky lottery.
Sometimes what seems to be going wrong is really going right. From a human perspective it may appear that things are working against you, when they are really working for you. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant for what errors might lead to.
Robert Louis Stevenson noted, “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” Yet what is a poor hand, but a good hand in the making? What is a minus, but half of a plus waiting for a stroke of vertical awareness? And what is an error, but something to parlay to create something far more valuable than what would have come had the error not occurred? As Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered.”
The next time you encounter a mistake, Rob Anderson would be a good guy to remember. As he deposits his annual checks for millions of dollars, he would probably suggest that we, too, do not resist errors, but let them work in our favor.
How might what seems wrong really be right? Can you trust that life is always working in your favor?
I believe that things are working for the best, and I act on my belief.
Alan Cohen is the author of 17 popular inspirational books and is also a contributing writer for the New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul.