Just do it – the unexpected…

September 29, 2022

“If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.” (Fay Weldon)

I suppose that today’s quote could have been shared under the headline – Don’t bore yourself. Life can become so routine and so repetitive that you do actually bore yourself. It is easy to convince yourself that not trying new things is just being safe or cautious. When we stop trying new things or doing the unexpected we can become boring to others and to ourselves. Do the unexpected.

As one gets older it is especially east to stop trying new things that involve physical activity, since one becomes less capable of such activities. While that is likely prudent with activities requiring great strength or endurance, we often let that hesitancy to try physical activities spread across too wide of a spectrum and cause us to become sedentary. Age may slow your daily walk to a shuffle but don’t let it make you a couch potato. It’s really boring on the couch. Do the unexpected.

It is even more insidious when we allow that hesitancy to do the unexpected to interfere with our relationships or making new friends. One thing that many seniors start to feel in the tightening of the circle of friends that they may have, due to deaths or other causes. The world can begin to feel smaller and less friendly. One needs to always keep adding new friends. Do the unexpected.

So, while it may be impractical or even dangerous to take up rock climbing or white water kayaking when you get older, it is still possible to make new friend and gain new knowledge by sharing experiences with others. Instead of withdrawing and avoiding new people, make it your goal to make at least one new acquaintance or friend each day. Smile and speak to the people you meet. Reach out your hand and greet them with a genuine interest in what they may have to say. Do the unexpected.

Not every encounter will result in making a new friend. Not every person that you meet will even return the interest or make the effort to stop and get to know you. But those who do welcome and return your effort will provide you with the unexpected – new knowledge and new experiences. You may be surprised how many of those people were hoping that someone would acknowledge and talk to them. Do the unexpected.

Doing the unexpected does not need to be dangerous or to involve great physical activity, but it does have to involve you getting out of your comfort zone and taking the risk to do the unexpected. Sometimes not much happens that you can see but taking the time to smile and maybe say a kind word to someone that you pass may change their whole day. Just thinking about that can also give an unexpected boost to your day. Do the unexpected.

Are you ready for chance?

July 24, 2021

Today’s quote come from a post of quotes that I saw recently on the Internet. I’m not sure what you will think about when you read it, but I immediately thought of pilot Sully Sullenberger being prepared when his plane lost both engines shortly after takeoff.

“Chance favors only the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

During interviews following the incident, Sullenberger said that he had been preparing all of his life for just such a chance occurrence and that this mental preparation just kicked in when it happened. I wonder how many other airline pilots spend much time thinking about what they would do if their plane was suddenly disabled? I suspect that quite a few have thought about that scenario since Sully landed his plane in the Hudson River.

I have posted here before about being ready to deal with the unexpected things that can happen in life. A major part of that preparedness is having the ability to not panic, to give yourself time to think, to analyze the situation and to formulate a proper response. That sounds like a lot to do in a split-second situation, but the prepared human mind is capable of amazing things.

We are told that a natural response to a threat is “fight or flight” to lash out in defensive response or to duck or run. Perhaps the better way to phrase the response choices is “react and then think” or “think and then react”. If you can train yourself to have the latter response to chance you will make better decisions and fair better when the unknow happens to you.

Chance happenings don’t always involve unexpected bad things. Sometimes chance puts us in a position for good things to happen and we must be ready to take advantage of those things, too. There are those who believe that good things happen to those who go through life in a positive frame of mind. There is probably something to that, but it may be because those people were already looking for the chance to have good things happen. They actually take some of the chance out of the picture by moving towards the good things.

So, how does one prepare their mind for the randomness of chance? It begins by having confidence in yourself and developing a pattern or system for dealing with problems in life. Some may call it their coping mechanism. For many that coping mechanism is based upon their faith. Faith may also provide a solid foundation for self-confidence. Faith provides a moral foundation for making quick decisions that can guide our reactions to various situations – the right and wrong of that decision making.

Faith may also allow us to make the quick call on whether the situation at hand is even one that we can actually  try to handle or whether it is “in God’s hands”.  We can waste a lot of time and energy trying to fix or react to something that is beyond our control or our ability to control.  The sooner that we come that decision the quicker we can refocus upon the only things that we can control – our reaction to the event.

Maybe before you start out each day (your take-off, so to speak), you can ask God to help you be ready for the chance occurrences of the day, to think before you react and to give you the wisdom and courage to deal with whatever occurs. Maybe just asking Him to be with you during the day will put you in the right frame of mind to deal with chance in your day.  Remember what we have been told – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

Chance really cannot stand against those who have prepared their minds through prayer. They can say with confidence, “Bring it on, I’m prepared for you.”

Are you ready for chance?