What to Do When Life Doesn’t Seem to Go Your Way

So you know the mental roadmap of your life? The one with all the assumptions of where you should be by 30 and what you should achieve by 40? 

Yeah that one.

That thing used to deceive me too.

It was extremely convincing with it’s vivid imagery of how my life was supposed to be. It had this big laid out life plan for me that I wasn’t sure that I could follow. Or that I intended to follow. Yet for some crazy reason, I still felt guilty when I didn’t. 

Goals and dreams are all fine and dandy. I’m all for them. The words are posted front and center on my site.  But I learned that there’s an art to them, an art to this thing called life.

The art of knowing when to keep pressing on and knowing when to let go and just go with the flow.

It’s an art. And art can be abstract.

An art of your own design and interpretation, your own meaning, and most importantly your own understanding.

And since it’s art, it only needs to make sense to you.

You ask, how do I know when to keep pressing and when to let go?

And the answer is simple.

You keep pressing on when your goals and your ideas light up a fire inside you. When things are going just the way you planned. When everything you dreamed of seems to fall into place and the passion coursing through your veins is roaring. Keep pressing on. 

But when your goals, dreams, and passions take an unexpected detour and  don’t seem to be working out. When you just can’t seem to take on another day. When all your energy and passion seems to be sucked out of you, when you just want to quit— you surrender. You surrender and go with the flow with faith that you will be led to the exact spot you need to be in. 

By surrender I don’t mean you give up. I don’t mean you stop trying. I don’t mean that you quit.

Because you don’t give up, you give in. You let go of trying to make things happen your way and go with the flow. Follow the flow and see where it takes you. Be open to the ride. Find out where that road leads.

If you keep bumping up against walls it’s because you’re meant to learn the lesson behind the struggle. And those walls aren’t going anywhere until you learn the lesson and learn to move with the flow.

You’ll learn the lesson when you loosen the grip on what you thought life was supposed to be so you can fully be present in moment that lays before you now.

So when things don’t work and you feel stuck, follow the redirection. Feel things out. See where it takes you. Explore. Grow.  Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Don’t stay stuck between the walls. Lay off on the comparisons of how life is supposed to look or how you’re supposed to be. Follow the flow- it’s universal wisdom. Let it teach you something. Use it as guidance. 

So yeah, there might be a mental roadmap in your head right now saying you should be doing this by now or you should have already done that, but:

don’t let life be a roadmap, let it be art.

Art composed of abstract pieces made of beautiful learning lessons, hard struggles, and moments of joy. Let life be what it needs to be and nothing else.

And when you do that, you’ll know that you’re exactly where you need to be.


  • Namrata Kumari

    Reply Reply November 4, 2015

    Oh I never thought about life this way. This was so beautiful. ‘Life is an art and an art can be abstract’. I loved your thoughts. And I am very much interested in this art making sense to me. 🙂

    • solballard

      Reply Reply November 5, 2015

      Hey Namrata,

      Happy that you thought this post was beautiful! Yes, life, like art, is all about perspective. We can find beauty in a piece of art that was derived from pain, think Frida Kahlo. It all depends on the perspective. Life is just a juxtaposition of bliss + pain + all the other emotions. It’s art. It’s abstract.



  • Rachel

    Reply Reply November 12, 2015

    Oh WOW, thanks for sharing! Luv, luv this philosophy of life… Stunningly beautiful – I agree life is amazing, messy and reflective – just like art!! xx

    • solballard

      Reply Reply November 13, 2015

      Glad this resonated with you, Rachel. Yep, life can be messy but when you stand back and take a look at it, it’s beautiful- just like art. In art sometimes you see pain, joy- a ton of mixed emotions, but regardless of what you see it’s all just a beautiful expression. Thanks for stopping by. – Sol

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