Why ‘Looking For A Sign’ Actually Does Work



There are generally two kinds of people: the dreamers and the realists. The dreamers may believe in abstract notions like fate, destiny and signs. They may be very religious and/or very spiritual. They may believe that their lives are meant to work out in a certain way no matter their choices, and that a certain power has destined them for another, or that God has chosen them for a calling.

Then there are the realists, who believe in the power of the individual. Realists may believe in the power of choice and of our individual ability to change and shape our lives. Realists don’t usually believe in ideas like fate, and may instead cite coincidence for so many of the things dreamers call destiny or signs. Realists are practical, and may even be cynics, agnostic or atheist.


Looking for a sign is something many “dreamers” do because they believe, on some level, that the world has a plan for them, that the universe is showing them the way to happiness and fulfillment. Instead of relying on logic, intuition, emotion or concrete information to make life decisions like finding a partner, quitting a job, and all the other myriad choices and decisions that make up our lives and overall happiness, they rely on signs from destiny or God to make their choices for them. Realists often totally scoff at this idea.

I am somewhere in between. And I believe that looking for a sign does work, but not for the reasons you may think.

I am of a mind to believe that there is some higher power floating somewhere in the universe, but I also believe completely that this higher power has almost nothing to do with our silly, day-to-day lives. Call it God, call it whatever you want, but I believe both that it’s there and that small things aren’t controlled by it. I believe wholly in free will and in the power of choices. I don’t believe in fate or destiny generally, again, because why am I destined for happiness or whatever, while so many bad things happen to good people? I believe life is random and unfair.

But I also believe in the power of signs. Why? Because signs are powerful when humans give them power.

As a dreamer/realist combo, I often notice signs when I’m conflicted, feeling down, or on the cusp of major life changes. I notice certain small things that I completely consider signs. And I believe in them simply because I’ve noticed them at all. The signs matter because I’ve made them matter.

When I see a sign, it suddenly becomes clearer to me what I truly want to do, what will actually make me happy, what the best decision is, because I have attributed a certain meaning to these “signs” and symbols and things I see.

Two people can see a bird flying overhead or a rainbow appear in the sky. One is going through a horrible health struggle and thinks, suddenly, that everything is going to be okay. He feels taken care of. The other person can see the same exact event and just see it as a pretty thing. We attribute power to signs and make them mean what we want them to mean. But that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Yes, they’re there because we want them to be. We give signs power because we want to. But it doesn’t mean they’re not still powerful to us.

I see signs that to me, mean something in particular. Because I am who I am, I make them mean something and then I realize the power I have within myself to make the right decision, to rely on my intuition and good judgment, or to just breathe, relax and tell myself everything is going to be okay. Because I will make it okay, not some other, higher power. And if that power does indeed exist, it probably has better things to do than make the moon come out of the clouds on the exact moment I look up at the sky.

Humans are extraordinary beings because we think in the abstract, the only animals on earth to be able to do that. I’m spiritual, and a realist, and I believe that looking for signs is only as powerful as we make it. And I probably won’t ever stop looking.

Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.

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