Dealing with the unexpected

Dedicated to my amazing Amity Team whose fast and accurate decisions and actions led to no injury or loss of life and minimal damage in the fire sustained recently at Amity.

Blue, a two-year-old Bedlington Terrier, was chasing a rabbit in the field. The rabbit swerved and ducked. Blue followed its journey relentlessly. The rabbit spotted a hole, made a dash for it, and jumped in. Blue did not give up and stuck his head into the hole as well, barking. Suddenly, he retracted with a yelp, followed by a hissing sound. Unfortunately for Blue, that hole was home to an adder. The adder had bit Blue on the nose causing pain. Blue ran back to his guardian with his tail between his legs. He certainly was not expecting that.

How do you feel when something unexpected happens in your life? Especially when it is not exactly pleasant, like a fire at your workplace, an injury sustained or a loss of your loved one? Many will feel shocked, perhaps anger and sometimes even denial. Sometimes a sense of anxiety may occur and overwhelm you. Sometimes, you may think, “Why me?” or “For goodness sake, give me a break!” Do you know of someone like that?

On the other hand, have you met someone who seemed to be calm and collected no matter what happens to her (or him)? She just sees each event as it is and does not seem perturbed by it. Sometimes, she even almost seemingly disregards the event by effortlessly resolving it and continues her day and life as though nothing has happened. How does one develop such ‘skills’? What is her thought process? Is she really as unperturbed as she seems?

Imagine being able to experience each seemingly unexpected event without having negative feelings like anger, denial, or even shock that lasts a long time. What would your world look like? Would it be better or do you thrive on the rush of all those said feelings? If you are interested in making every event positive, here are a few suggestions.

First of all, practicing gratitude will quickly shift your mind from fear, loss, denial, and anger to a calmer more positive place. I am not talking about positive thinking. For example, if your workplace had caught fire, I will not be thinking, “What a great event! We should have more!” No, it is about being grateful for the things you have like that no one was hurt or the damage could have been worse. The Attitude of Gratitude is like a muscle or a skill. It needs to be practiced to be able to draw it when needed the most, especially when you feel there is nothing to be grateful for. This one act is as powerful as it gets to regain the most valuable commodity, your tranquillity. Be sure to adopt Gratitude into your life whether you think you need it or not as you are guaranteed to need it!

Next, look for the lesson. Do not ‘waste’ this special opportunity to learn. Was there a systems issue? Is there a thought process or procedure that could be improved to reduce the incidence of repeating in the future? There are only two mistakes in life. One, not doing anything in fear of making a mistake that is a mistake itself, and two, not learning from your mistakes. Quite simply, a mistake is only a mistake if you do it twice. Each event serves as a lesson if you make the effort to look for it. Sometimes you may find yourself that the same event (mistake) happens repeatedly. It is just life’s way of providing the lesson to you until you get it and do something different. Looking down from a place above, there are no mistakes.

When you are grateful for all events, expected or unexpected, and can learn from them, you will be able to embrace life on its whole. There would be no fear regardless of life’s events, only a sense of calm and gratitude that life is beautiful and wondrous, allowing you to pursue even more. To grow is a basic human need. When you have adopted the way to grow from all that life brings, you would have filled that need and obtain a sense of fulfillment. Not only will it improve your life, but others around you would also see that and be able to learn from your example too. You would have led others by leading yourself.

Blue would have learned to be more cautious before popping his head into holes in the ground again. What have you learned from your last unexpected experience?

‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. ‘ – Lao Tzu

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: