This interview is an element of а 3-part series on creating opportunities out of failed plans. You can see the main article, with a simple exercise, over here. The other interview of the series, with psychologist Borislava Yakova, is available here

I’ve been following Tsvety and her family’s travel diaries on Instagram for a while now (you can do it here). On a platform full of well-curated and molded content, Tsvety always stood out to me as an authentic and incredibly inspiring woman. Not only do we share a lot of values and beliefs, but I am also always moved by how she talks about nature and other people with a lot of love and respect. I was very glad to have this conversation with her, on creating opportunities out of failed plans, and I hope it’s going to bring value to you as well. 

How to turn failed plans into opportunities

Let us know how the following paragraphs make you feel and think, in the comments below or on social media.  

How did you realize that failed plans can actually be opportunities? 

I started to become more self-aware about 10 years ago. It took me a while and of course, I am constantly working on it. It’s a never-ending process. 

Back then, I often felt sad, angry, and depressed. I wanted everything here and now. And when plans wouldn’t work out the way I had imagined, I felt discouraged and disappointed. 

It seems to me that one Sunday was the turning point in my life. I found the book “Faith, Hope, and Love”, which helped me change the directions. As a consequence of this beginning, over the years I experienced various transformations until I learned that whatever happens to me is a direct result of my own thoughts and choices. 

My view of the world became more holistic: “Whatever I project is what I will receive.” And so gradually my perspective shifted to thinking that whatever happens to me is the best that could happen in this precise moment. Naturally, these events are not necessarily pleasant, but I still choose to perceive them as lessons. It helps me. And after a while, it always turns out that they really were valuable lessons. 

Once you learn to be patient, to enjoy the present moment, and be thankful for everything you have, you get what you’ve always dreamt about. And you start to see that there are not failed plans, just new opportunities. 

What would you say to a friend who’s getting angry about failed plans? 

My first reaction and advice is to tell them that the best is yet to come. If something has “failed” then it’s just so we can find what’s right for us, whatever will contribute to a feeling of harmony, love, and fulfillment. 

Over time, I realized that the other person has to be ready to hear this answer though. 

Only someone who is at a crossroads (that’s how I call people who are on the path to becoming more self-aware but have gotten lost for a moment) can believe in their heart and soul that the best is yet to come. 

Could you please tell us about a time when “failed” plans created space for a new opportunity? 

I’ve got plenty of these stories. For example, a few years ago my partner, friends, and I planned a trip to Tenerife through Barcelona. After we had booked everything, it turned out that the flight from Sofia to Barcelona would be canceled and so our entire trip was about to fail. 

But when you have set yourself up to believe that everything happens in the best way possible, you only see opportunities in the face of failure. 

We decided to leave earlier and drive to Barcelona. Which allowed us to see Cannes, Nice, Monaco, and Milan, as well as buy things we would not have been able to carry otherwise. Finally, we even got a voucher from the airline, which we used for another trip. 

At the end of the day, we got way more out of the situation than what we lost. In correspondence, our family’s belief is that: “Everything happens in the best possible way.”

What would you want your son Boris to know about plans and mental flexibility? 

I believe that the first 7 years of our development are formative. That’s why his father and I treat him like a grown person. Of course, we explain some things simpler, but we never lie to him or bribe him, so that he would do something. We give him space to make his own choices from a young age. 

I would like to teach him that nothing is impossible. Everyone constructs their own reality. There is always a choice and our choices shape our lives. It’s most important that he listens to his inner voice, and doesn’t resign himself to things that don’t feel fulfilling. He doesn’t have to fit his life into society’s frame, compare himself to others, or worry about what people could say.  

What I’ve learned is that happiness is a choice and I would love for my son to organize his priorities so that he is always happy. To have plans, goals, and dreams, but also not to forget that the most important moment is the present. 

There are times when I ask myself if there is a point in what we are trying to do, since he will fly then nest and life might turn him around completely. But then I say to myself, “We’re giving him a stable foundation and then everything will be in his own hands.”

This interview is an element of а 3-part series on creating opportunities out of failed plans. You can see the main article, with a simple exercise, over here. The other interview of the series, with psychologist Borislava Yakova, is available here.