“Life is rarely about what happened—it’s mostly about what we think happened.”

Chuck Klosterman

Think of life as a painting in progress. Each stroke represents an experience, an event. But the finished painting, the masterpiece, isn’t just about the individual strokes on the canvas—it’s about the meaning we give to those strokes, the narrative we create. Essentially, life is less about what happened, and more about what we think happened.

Let’s take an instance of a public speech you delivered that didn’t go as well as you hoped. You could remember it as a failure, an embarrassment, a moment where you were not at your best. That’s one perspective. But there’s another way to see it. You could remember it as a learning moment, a time when you gathered the courage to step onto that stage, a point of growth. Same event, different interpretations.

It’s like we’re all storytellers, weaving our personal narratives, coloring our experiences with our perceptions. The powerful part is, we hold the paintbrush, we write the story. We get to choose the colors, the lines, the shading. We decide whether a moment was a mishap or a lesson.

So, as you walk through life, remember this: Your experiences are the strokes on your canvas, but it’s your interpretation that brings the painting to life. Life isn’t so much about what happens—it’s mostly about how we perceive, how we understand, how we narrate what happens. Remember, the paintbrush is in your hands.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.