An unexpected philosopher…

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” ― Elvis Presley

ElvisI would never have pegged Elvis as a philosopher, but that simple little piece of advice is fairly deep and certainly worth following. Life will surely put curves in your way or thrown unexpected twists into the middle of things that you had planned.

Sometimes life can seem to be downright cruel and unfair; sometimes just hateful and unjust. We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control how we react and respond to those things. It is easy to lose control and go along in the same direction as the wrong things that happen to us; to be hateful or cruel or unfair or unjust in return. Rather than turn the other cheek, we lash back in response and thus lower ourselves to the level of the instigator of the initial offense. We go with the things that have gone wrong.

There is a reasonable body of human behavioral evidence that makes the case that our normal reactions to fightunexpected threats has only two immediate choices – fight or flight. We lash back or we run. I think there are a plethora of word choices that one could argue for different cases. Perhaps ignore or deny, or maybe admit or lie, or perhaps reject or embrace. Those word pairs might all be used to describe some obvious reaction choices for different scenarios in life where something has gone wrong.  The thing that Elvis was probably trying to say is that you really don’t have to make any of those choices. You can choose to stop and consider things before you choose a course of action or perhaps just decide that no action is required.

Many of the things that we might say go wrong in life aren’t really things that necessarily have to involve some reaction from us. In fact, many of the things that others might do to us or around us are done just to evoke a reaction; to see if they can “get your goat”, so to speak. Nothing is more disappointing to people who do those kinds of things than encountering someone who will not take the bait and respond to a slight or a slam or an unkind remark. In fact nothing works better to expose those people for what they are than refusing to lower yourself and join them in their ugliness. Inevitably their self-righteous position is exposed for the bigotry or hatefulness that it is based upon and right-minded people will not want to be associated with that position or those who take it.

thinking womanSo, rather than take a fight or flight position on the things that life or other people may throw at you, perhaps try a stop and think response. I’ve written about that several times in this blog, so I won’t repeat all of the advice that is already here. The main difference is to act and not just react. So, listen to Elvis and don’t go with it when something bad happens or something goes wrong. Don’t let fate take you along for the ride, don’t go with it: deal with it.

Have a great week ahead and keep Elvis’s advice in mid.

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