While 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?