I hate surprises. Well hate is a strong word. Truth is, I had a surprise party gone wrong at the age of 21. Three huge guys in ski masks ran into my dorm room punched me, grabbed me, tied me up and took me to a lake where 30 people wished me a joyous day. Not the best party…
Enough of my therapy inducing past.
Have you ever noticed that in the important initiatives of your life there is often a “Surprise”? By Surprise (capital S) I mean something that is unwanted and unexpected. I’m not complaining, no, just stating a fact. The unexpected comes… and at least in my life, it’s quite often.
I think I suffer from chronic ‘best case’ thinking. I expect things to work just like I planned. Silly expectation really, because things rarely turn out as schemed. Sometimes better, but most of the time there is an unexpected obstacle. “Surprise!”
I’ve noticed that as soon as I start to experience a “Surprise” that I get totally self-absorbed. The natural inclination is just to think about ME. This obsession actually paralyzes me from moving forward.
So one of the great lessons that I have learned from my “Surprises” is actually a principle I learned from George Costanza of Seinfeld fame. His whole life was a “Surprise” so he decided to do the opposite of everything he would normally do. Even though that’s not a great lifestyle, could it be that the antidote to “Surprise” is counter intuitive? “Surprise” screams be selfish. Problem is, it doesn’t work.
Here’s the challenge for myself and anyone else who experiences a “Surprise”: When things start to unravel, GIVE. Give money, give time, give whatever away. Not only does it feel good, it actually crystallizes my thoughts back into the ability to solve my problem.