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7. The Freedom Failure
So you opened a hotdog stand on the beach the very day the tsunami struck, and you lost all your savings. So you married the love of your life, and he turned out to be a con man in charge of a pyramid scheme, and even the cops said there was no way you could have ever known. Sometimes in life we get knocked down by things we have no control over. This is awful...for a good long while.

But experiences like those do wise us up to the control we actually have, as opposed to the control we want. There are things we can plan for. But when it comes to weather, sickness, other people and even the arrival of the ice cream truck on a really hot day, we get no say. Though this lack of power can bedevil us, it can also free us, by allowing us to realize that some failures—just like successes—are flukes. These screwups aren't a reflection of us or our actions. And the more we understand this principle, the more quickly we tend to shelve those disappointing experiences and move on to ones that uplift us, ones that are all about who we are and who we want to be.

Next: 8 things you should never be embarrassed about

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