Get what you want…by not getting what you want

I like when things are perfect. 

While I promote being #notperfect on social media, I continue to get humbling reminders about how I’m still learning to be positive when a wrench gets thrown in my schedule. If things don’t go according to plan – like, exactly according to plan – I freak out and am convinced the day is ruined. 

Take yesterday morning, for example: I woke up. I found it wasn’t raining. I immediately decided I was going to bike to Steppenwolf Front Bar and do my work from there. I love Steppenwolf and knew I had to get out of my apartment to do work. Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it. I had my plan! I bundled up, put on my coat, packed my bag, and threw on my bike helmet. 

…and then realized it had started raining. 


I went back inside, contemplating what to do. I wasn’t pleased. But I had things to do. I decided to just start working from home.

…and proceeded to have one of my most productive mornings in a long time. 

Sometimes we get what we want by not getting what we originally wanted. 

Ever have your plans cancelled due to weather? Or perhaps a change in weekend activities when a friend bails on you? This is the concept in a nutshell. The cool thing is that not only does it teach us to control on the things we can control, but it can help us be more comfortable when this happens with bigger situations. 

I had an awesome plan to intern this summer at a place I really respect and admire. I thought it’d be great if I got it, and was pretty determined to get it. Long story short – I found out that the typical applicant is expected to meet some expectations that I didn’t meet. At first I was pretty upset. Until I remembered this concept. 

Here’s a way to look at your future change of plans, whatever they might be: “I can’t (work there this summer)? Interesting. I wonder what else is now available for me…

The more we grasp this concept, the better we can handle disappointments. The more we can handle disappointments, the more authentically positive we become. 

No bullshit. No faking. No suppressing. 

Doesn’t that sound fun? 


One of my favorite reminders hanging up on my wall. (I kind of like sticky notes.)

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 


Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.


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