I am typically an open book when it comes to almost everything in my life. I am a very strong believer in honesty and openness, and if you ask me a question, you get a straight answer. Many times it’s tough because I may be a little “too honest” and instead of telling people what they want or expect to hear, I tell them what I really think.

But there is one thing, one little secret in my life, that I almost never share with anyone. I’ve dated women for months who don’t know this about me, mainly because I felt it was something irrelevant from my past and something that represented a particularly difficult time for me.

And then a question on Quora got me to spill my guts to the world. So without further ado, here is my answer republished from Quora about the biggest secret of my past…

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"What are examples of assumptions that people passionately believe in when they are young, that turn out to be false?"

I see a lot of negative answers here specifically people saying that they no longer believe that “everything happens for a reason,” so I’m going to take the opposite stance.

When I was young, I thought that the phrase “everything happens for a reason” was complete nonsense. I thought it was something that religious people said to justify their beliefs. I thought it was something that unsuccessful people said to get through the day. And I thought that it was something that sick or dying people said because there was pretty much nothing else to say.

Then I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as a freshman in high school. I spent weeks at a time in the hospital. At one point, I was taking over 50 pills a day. I missed 53 days of school one year.  As a 5’11 tall junior, I weighed 115 lbs — if I knew any female models they would all have been jealous but really it was incredibly awkward and gross for a guy to have wrists that skinny.

And then one day my senior year, I just felt better.. or decided I was better.. or just started telling people I was feeling better so often that it just happened. I stopped taking all of my medicine, because I didn’t need it any more — my doctors hated that but it didn’t matter because I was no longer sick. And for over 10 years now, Crohn’s Disease has never come back to bother me again.

Going through this as a kid in high school was impossibly tough on me, my friends, and my family, but I learned so much about myself and about what was important. It taught me not to complain about the insignificant stuff that I have no control over. It taught me never to take anything for granted especially a great piece of fresh corn on the cob that would have put the high school me in the hospital for days. It taught me to make the most out of every day that we are here. And most importantly of all it taught me that things happen for a reason.

I don’t believe that things happen according to some religious plan or cosmic higher power. I don’t believe in karma and that when I give a dollar to a homeless person it is going to come back to me in some way. And I most certainly don’t believe that everything I’ve been through and all of my experiences have had no impact on who I am today. That’s just ridiculous.

I do believe that things happen for a reason. Most of the time, we are too emotionally attached to understand or realize what those reasons are. Most of the time, we don’t want to admit that we didn’t get that promotion for a reason or that we have had failed relationships for a reason. I wouldn’t change my past for anything in the world. And maybe because I really like the person that I have become, I am so confident in my belief that everything happens for a reason.

If you use all of your experiences, both good and bad, as an opportunity to learn and improve then I think that there is no such thing as coincidence.