What If It Isn’t A Sign?

SignsOrCuriosityWhile life experiences contain meaning and potential lessons, interpreting life events as “signs” can lead you away from your soul-level trajectory. For example, I recently heard Jack Canfield discuss how his Chicken Soup for the Soul book idea got rejected 144 times. If he interpreted all those rejections as evidence he wasn’t meant to publish his series, then he wouldn’t have sold millions and millions of books. The sign he saw, if any, told him to keep going, to keep knocking on doors until he found the receptive publisher he needed.

Most of us prefer certainty. If you can categorize an experience as a sign, it allows your mind to relax momentarily. Yet when you interpret events as signs, you close doors on other possibilities. A sign can become the expert on your life, giving you tunnel vision and setting your expectations. What if it isn’t a sign?

When you interpret life events as signs, you may also surrender your free will. You may begin to feel powerless to effect change. Perversely, surrendering to a sign often yields the expected outcome. Say, for example, you request a meeting with a prospective client and they decline. If you take it as a sign you don’t have what it takes and quit asking, you may take your continued lack of success as confirmation. On the other hand, if you tell yourself you just need persistence, you engage your free will to keep pursuing what you want. Sometimes quitting and persisting start with the same external circumstances but different internal interpretations.

Curiosity offsets the easy dismissal signs provide. Does a particular sign make you feel expanded or contracted? Does it help you move toward or away from what you want?

Do you believe in signs? When do you have you found them most helpful? Least helpful?


  1. Hi Christy, I find myself looking for signs whenever I experience that divine restlessness and want a magical solution to appear. I’m especially sensitive to winged messengers–butterflies and dragonflies–recalling my mother’s interpretation that butterflies bring long-awaited news. However, we can become too dependent upon those outward signs and not listen (or trust) our still, inner voices.

    Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

    Joanne 🙂


    • Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for your comment. I too believe in earthly messengers. Just the other day when I was preoccupied by something minor I saw a hawk flying overhead which reminded me to zoom out and take the larger view. Yet I also believe we assign more meaning to our perceived successes and failures than they sometimes merit. Sometimes a failure’s message is “quit” whereas other times the message is “have faith and persist.”

      You’re welcome and thank you.
      Christy 🙂


  2. Earthly messengers – I like that notion. This was a great post, Christy…we do defeat ourselves if we take a rejection or even a YES! as a sign. I do believe, tho’, that there “earthly messengers” everywhere. Something – your hawk or a bright spot of sunlight that causes you to pause and reflect. As a hand analyst, I pay attention when I have a pain or a cut in my hands . location, nature of pain and I get to reflect on what’s going on right now in my life.
    Such an interesting topic. Again, thanks.


    • Hi Janet,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree messages and messengers surround us, providing valuable information and nudges. I think what you describe is exactly how to process a “sign” – reflecting on what’s going on right now in life rather than jumping to conclusions without tuning into your own intuition about it. Thanks again for contributing! 🙂
      All the best,


  3. My husband used to love to walk the Venice, FL, beaches looking for sharks’ teeth. He was quite successful at spotting them. After he died, the first time I walked his favorite beach and came upon his favorite hunting spot, I got very sad and weepy, but after a while I felt calm. Just to be fresh, I said aloud, “Well you could toss me a nice tooth for old time’s sake.” Just as I turned to continue my walk, a wave washed over my feet. There was a tooth, larger than I had ever found myself. I felt that was a sign to me.

    As for signs directing my behavior–haha–they seemed too easily aligned with what I prefer to do or prefer to avoid so I have to treat them with skepticism.


    • Hi Olga,
      Thanks for your comment. I love your shark tooth story! I think you’re on the mark with what most of us do by taking signs as confirmation of what we prefer or of our conditioned expectations. I appreciate how you succinctly captured that idea.
      Warm regards,


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