When learning from obstacles can be an opportunity Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Cathoic News Service   
Thursday, Nov. 06, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Recently, I found a list of interviewing tips that can help when applying for a job. I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but as a starting point, they create a solid foundation.

The first three steps involve preparation: Research the job before your interview, prepare a list of questions you'd like to ask and dress professionally.

The next six involve the interview: arrive early, bring a copy of your resume and a pen and paper, maintain eye contact and show interest in everyone you speak with. It continues with: don't discuss money during the first interview, behave appropriately if you're taken for a meal, and respect everyone you speak with.

The final step is to follow-up with a thank you note to each interviewer. Those are solid, basic rules for an interview. Could those rules help with success in other areas of life?

Imagine a different scenario, such as planning a ski vacation. Do the same rules apply? You'd want to research the place where you're staying and available activities. You'd want to ask about activities that cost extra money and those that are included with your stay. You'd want to arrive as early as possible and pack everything necessary to maximize your fun.

What if we apply these rules to a chore? Maybe a friend asks you to help paint a room. Before you begin, they will look for and choose the new color, but other questions will remain. Are you painting the trim? What about the light switch covers? If you're thanked with dinner when the work is complete, will you show restraint or order extras you don't need? Will your friend thank you for helping?

Whether planning a vacation and painting a room, the suggested job seeker rules apply and can help as a guide. That's true for many things in life. Lessons we learn in one situation can be applied to situations that appear in our lives the next day or in the future.

The secret of successful people is that they don't make the same mistake twice. They learn and adapt. If there's a lesson to be learned from a previous obstacle, they'll see it. If they make a mistake, they can apply what they learned to the future.

Sometimes it's hard to apply lessons from the past to the present. However, learning to do it is like driving a car. When you first get behind the wheel, you focus only on what's immediately in front of you. As you get more experienced, you start looking at everything ahead, not just at the car in front of you.

When you take the same approach to life, it's easier to navigate. Large obstacles become minor inconveniences. You recognize opportunities and learn to navigate around problems instead of facing them head-on.

If you can do that, you'll stop seeing problems as obstacles blocking your path.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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