When life gives you lemons make lemonade, or perhaps cut the lemon into slices, freeze those slices then stab yourself in the face with them until you die.

I was just listening to Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast interview with Judd Apatow.

About halfway through they started to discuss Stephen Colbert, who lost two brothers and his father in a plane crash when he was ten.

He said that as he’d already been through the worst thing you could possibly imagine there was nothing to worry about. Apparently his mum said to him, ‘You need to look at this through the light of eternity’.

When Stephen explained this to Judd, his reply was, ‘Yes, but why did you listen to her? Why didn’t you just do drugs?’

‘Oh, I did do drugs!’ Stephen replied.

At the time of the crash Stephen simply stopped doing any work at school and barely graduated. He felt that there was no threat anyone could have over him.

‘I was a broken kid,’ he said. ‘Don’t get me wrong. But I did not compound that by feeling guilty about not doing work. But the real point is that it forced me to look at the world differently.’

Then Judd says in the podcast interview, ‘What I don’t understand is why that works’.

Indeed… Why does that work? How do some people use that incident as rocket fuel when others use it as poison?

I then listened to Howard Stern interviewing Louis CK in 2006:

Louis had some pretty odd things happen to him as a kid, such as being sent to a summer camp for the mentally handicapped for three straight years at around eight years old.

And, after many visits to prostitutes,  he turned the lemons into lemonade, too.

It seems that whatever happens in our formative years, we make decisions about it that create what we are today. We have no choice over those decisions because we don’t know we’re making them, and the vast majority of us have no idea they’re still controlling everything we do.

If we’re lucky, things work out, even with a few bumps along the way. If not, they don’t. But whatever the decisions, they become the life we live into.

What I find odd is how the same incident can send one person to Skid Row and another to Madison Square Garden. Or both.