The famous idiom "The Sky is Falling!" has passed into our language as a commonly understood reference to panic and mass hysteria. In some versions of the famous tale, the chicken who is clucking up such a panic is saved, and in some he is eaten by a wily fox. But it often serves as a lesson on not believing everything you hear and not giving in to panic. Well, I'm here to tell you that the sky is falling--and that's a good thing.
Truth be told, I mean this in the most literal sense, although it works as a metaphor. If by referring to the sky we are talking about clouds, which are condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, then the sky falling just means it's raining. Or snowing. And as much of the country is currently plagued with drought, precipitation isn't bad news at all. Just ask any Californian who is foaming at the mouth about El Niño.
Sure, most of us would prefer a sunny day over a cloudy or rainy one, but rain is a critical part of our ecosystem, so even though we might not prefer a rainy day, it is necessary for our very way of life. The colorful blooms of spring, the verdant and lush grass fields of summer, every rainbow and even our wintry snowball fights require the sky to fall. So do our very lives-from drinking water to food production. The sky MUST fall.
Even though the chicken in our famous fable is able to whip the world into a frenzy with his panic, we don't need to follow suit. Sometimes the rain falling is just a metaphor for life not going how we want it to. Seemingly disappointing events can create a downcast on our days, setting off a chain of events that can blow our minds out of proportion to the actual impact of events on our lives.
And if you consider how critical rain and snow are to our environment and even our lives, it is also true as a metaphor for our lives. Without rainy days, we cannot appreciate the sunny ones. Sometimes the sky will fall and being ready for that as a necessary part of our lives helps us weather the proverbial emotional storm that comes as a result of the unexpected wrinkles of our life plans.
In short, we should take these rainy moments in and allow them to wash over us, not fear them. Life will always have rainy days, its how we react that counts. Do you grow more determined when life doesn't go your way, or do you give up, cursing and lamenting life's unfairness? Happy and successful people grow more determined and allow the moments to wash over them--then move on and keep going.
Socrates was called an "immoral corrupter of youth." Henry Ford went bankrupt 5 times. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowling's books before the Harry Potter series was finally published. And Thomas Edison failed at inventing the light bulb over 1,000 times before succeeding. When asked by a reporter how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he replied "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
Being flexible as you approach your life helps you to temper your expectations and helps you to recognize that seeming disappointments can create moments of beauty if you are patient. Overcoming our initial disappointment at a turn in our fortunes, whether that be unexpected or unwanted personal change, a failed pilot or program at work, or even the annoying minutia of a series of events "stacked against us", helps us keep perspective on the truly important things in life. Life requires the rain and sun in balance to work. And sometimes our patience at things that don't go well turns into a metaphorical rainbow if we are patient. A moment of unexpected and unlooked for beauty.
If every day went as we wanted, then we wouldn't be appreciative of the good days, and we wouldn't be able to recover when life didn't go like we wanted. We would panic like Chicken Little. Being resilient, not resistant, to the rain helps us withstand the floods--those truly overwhelming moments of pain that fundamentally change our lives.
So the sky is falling my friends--and that's okay. We should embrace the rain, those unexpected moments of disappointment at not getting exactly what we wanted, so that when the floods come we are ready and don't panic. So when the clouds form at work or in your personal life, decide now how you want to react and just take a moment to soak it all in. Let it wash over the landscape of your life--it won't last forever. And when the sun shines again, I promise you will be all the more grateful.