Deflect the Unexpected

Courtesy chgs.umn.edu

Few things are more frustrating than a situation turning out different than anticipated.

Something about making a transition produces a sort of hopeful naiveté, it seems. We move from one place to another and naturally assume the new situation will be better — it can’t possibly be worse, right?

In fact, one could argue nothing would happen if we weren’t temporarily blinded by the novelty of a fresh opportunity and the perception of greener grass.

Who would willingly jump from the frying pan to the fire?

Nobody.

Ever.

Humans are predominantly creatures of habit choosing to rest in the shade instead of venturing into the sunshine. For most of us, the moment to leap arrives when old comforts hurt more than new uncertainties. And, regardless of how ridiculous the notion, we jump believing we’ll land in a perfect paradise too pleasing to induce pain.

We forget there are challenges everywhere.

The circumstances are irrelevant.

Conflict is inevitable, whether involving ten people or two or one.

Tension is necessary to for growth.

Reaction is what matters.

I usually choose one of two paths in the aftermath of disappointment: validation or detachment.

When I elect to pursue the former, I search out every possible means of sympathy. I pass a lot of time and effort in crafting an airtight case, presenting my arguments to a jury of my peers and awaiting a guilty verdict for the offending party. The energy required is enormous.

Focusing on the latter means everything is resolved fast. I parse through both viewpoints with all due speed, find the chief differences, accept them as “merely X” or “simply Y” and shift rapidly to the next thing. I dissect the arguments, gather what is useful for the future and move on quickly.

The hard part is comprehending either side is blameless most of the time.

Previous experience suggested something and nobody thought there would be an issue. Fair judgment, colored by a lifetime of decisions, directs all of us to our own conclusions every moment of the day. Why be upset when one mental image ends up being different from another?

It isn’t them.

It isn’t us.

It just is.

It’s far more efficient to deflect the unexpected.

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