There are times when we pay attention and are able to see moments string together like a jeweler stringing pearls. Alter even one moment, especially because of an assumption, and the potential outcome shifts.

One reason the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, is a popular classic is because of the main message: Each person plays a significant role in many lives. Another reason is that it demonstrates how events or moments connect in the bigger picture. We don’t always pause to consider this.

Others and I played our roles in specific moments that, upon reflection, played out with the precision of fine clockwork. The result was the first-time inclusion of a piece of art in a local gallery by a member of my gang of friends. The timing sequence involved was so exact it caught my attention.

Our gang has gone to prior openings at the gallery, and discussed how the active artist among us could easily be included in a showing. The opportunity came and he submitted a piece to be considered. It was two days before the opening and he hadn’t heard anything from the gallery owner.

Here’s how the sequence played out.
• One friend who lives on the first floor of our building emailed me that she had returned from a follow-up visit to her surgeon.
• I felt inspired to ask if I could go see her right then, she agreed, and I acted on it.
• I used the stairs rather than the elevator; and by the time I got to the floor where the artist friend lives, he came out of the elevator and we discussed going to the opening. He said he didn’t know if he and his wife would go because of her work schedule; then added he’d heard nothing from the gallery. (He’d used the elevator because he was coming up from the basement. Had I used the elevator, we would not have seen each other because I would have gotten out on the first floor and the elevator would have then picked him up in the basement.)
• I suggested he follow up with the gallery since we know that some emails never arrive or get lost in the shuffle, so-to-speak.
• He shifted from crestfallen to more hopeful, went inside his apartment, and I continued down the stairs to visit my other friend.
• When I returned to my apartment, I found an email from my artist friend stating he’d followed up as suggested. (He could just as easily have assumed there was no point to doing so.)
• We tend to make our emails about certain topics a group email; so another friend emailed a comment about this. Feeling frustration on behalf of the artist friend, her comment was based on an assumption that proved not to be the case.
• I had a networking event to attend that evening. Before I left my apartment, I received an email from my artist friend saying the gallery owner emailed back that his piece was included. Had he heard my suggestion and decided not to act, or had he accepted the other friend’s assumption as truth . . . (we all do or have done this)
• At the evening event, I was talking with other friends who spoke about attending the opening, and the gallery owner walked up. I told her my friend was excited about being included. She told me how happy she was he’d emailed her again because she’d really wanted to include his piece, but his email had gotten lost among the torrent of emailed submissions she’d received.

If you look at how many people were involved in this singular event (including the people who put the event together I attended that night, and who had to know whom) and how things flowed, you get an idea (if you've never played with this before) of how energy can work, when we allow it (and pay attention to the smaller and larger "big picture"). You also get a glimmer (if you've never considered it before) about how connected everyone and everything is. Remove or alter, even by seconds, any one piece (or person) from the list above and you can see how the outcome could have shifted in a variety of ways.

We participate in helping energy flow either positively or negatively. It's always a moment-by-moment choice.

It's also a great lesson about how making an assumption, and assuming it's true, and then acting as if it is true, has the potential to steal experiences (and magical moments) from us. I try to remind myself as often as possible that when something looks one way, it may be another. Very often, what's necessary is more information. As I included in my second book, "A real problem can be solved; an imaginary one cannot."

It's a good practice to ask, "Do I have enough information to know what's really going on?" This one question can save us minutes or hours (or years) of entering the negative-thought vortex, based on an assumption.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer, LEC ( is an author and creator of the 8-week Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business coaching program. Real methods, real results. SIGN UP TODAY. Visit her Website for program details, a la carte services, referral fee package, e-book discounts, or free newsletter: Want the program materials, but not the coaching? Reinvent Yourself eCourse available at