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dreams, experience, failure, fear

Inspired: A life of “oh well”s is a better than a life of “what if”s

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Part of the puzzle of pursuing a path that is meaningful to us involves learning to weather the tough times. I’ve had my fair share and I’m sure have many, many storms waiting for me around the bend. These few things help me to keep going when the going gets rough:

    • I look for the good. Every situation, no matter how difficult, has something good about it. A friend rises up to help in a way I never expected. I gain more compassion for other people who go through tough times. There’s always some light in the darkness.
    • I make sure I learn what go me into the tough situation and what will get me out. As long as I learn something to help me avoid making the same mistake again, I think of it as a win.
    • I stop. When I face a challenge, I step back and ask myself if I really carry enough about the end goal to keep going. This reflection helps me to understand my priorities.
    • I let myself feel really bad. Buddhism teaches us that the only way to move through adversity is to feel the full range of emotions it brings – anger, fear, sadness, disappointment, rage, etc. We have to give ourselves room to feel anything and everything that arises. Only after I’m truly done with those emotions do I pick up and try again. Don’t put a timeline on that process. Sometimes I bounce back almost immediately and sometimes it takes much longer than I’d like it to take. Emotions are like that. They can’t be forced to do anything. They just are. We have a right to all of our feelings and it’s healthy to exercise them.

Failure and disappointment are a part of every life. I don’t know a single person alive who’s ever gotten every single thing they ever wanted. When I fail or when I’m disappointed, I eventually remind myself that this means I tried to reach for something that meant a lot to me. I tried and in the process, I lived. When I look back, I’d rather have a life filled with “oh well” rather than a life filled with “what if”. 


About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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