Life happens – learning how to deal with unexpected events in life

Life happens – learning how to deal with unexpected events in life

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People often say that if you want to make God laugh, you should tell him about your plans. An equally insightful adage says that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Both these axioms are quite popular because they express a universal truth: life is full of twists and turns; always has been, always will be. We all want to feel safe on a physical, financial and emotional level, but no matter how much we plan and prepare, the truth is there’s very little we can control.

The world is, by its very nature, unpredictable. It continues to shift and transform, and no one knows what’s going to happen next. Things happen suddenly, randomly, with no prior warning, and every day we are met with new challenges, opportunities, and events that no one could have foreseen. Some of these events are minor and don’t make a notable difference in the grand scheme of things. Others are life-changing. Some of them are pleasant and change things for the better, others will leave chaos and suffering in their wake.

The point is you can’t stop the flow of life. Good and bad things are going to happen to you whether you’re ready or not. This doesn’t mean you should let the fear of the unknown stop you from living your life to the fullest. On the contrary, you should learn to ride this wave of uncertainty and make the most of it. Here’s how.

Accept the unexpected

Your car breaks down on your way to work. A friend pays you a surprise visit. You lose your job. You get a promotion. Your partner breaks up with you. You win the lottery. Unexpected events come in all shapes and forms. They’re an inevitable part of life and a reality you can’t ignore. So, you need to acknowledge there’s a high probability that things are not going to go the way you hope or expect all the time. In fact, most of your plans will probably fail.

It’s normal to fear change, even when it may lead to positive outcomes. But it’s a lot better to embrace it than to resist it. If you come to terms with the fact that change is the only constant in life and unforeseen situations may arise at any moment, it will be easier for you to face whatever’s coming your way. Shift your mindset, and you’ll be able to adapt your reaction to the things that happen to you.

Have a plan B

Once you’ve accepted that unexpected events are a given, you can start preparing for them. Just because you can’t control or predict many situations in life doesn’t mean you should just sit around and wait to take the next blow. Since plan A doesn’t always yield the results you’d expect, it’s a good idea to have a plan B in place.

Education is key in this respect. Knowledge empowers you with the tools and skills you need in order to react in an adequate manner when you find yourself in a difficult or unanticipated situation. For example, if you happen to be involved in an accident at work, you need to know your legal rights so you can claim compensation for the damage you’ve suffered, which you can learn more about at While there are many potential issues that may arise, and you can’t play out worst-case scenarios in your mind constantly, you can prepare for the most likely of them and create an emergency plan in case things go south.

Let go of perfectionism

Perfectionism is the killer of joy, productivity and progress, both in your personal and your professional life. It feeds into the idea that if you work hard and do everything by the book, nothing can go wrong, which is simply not true. Things can and will go wrong from time to time, no matter how much you struggle to attain perfection.

You need to let go of the idea that you could have avoided a situation had you done things perfectly or behaved in a different manner; that if you don’t make any mistakes, you’ll be able to avoid all pain and suffering. This kind of thinking will only keep you in a constant state of anxiety and procrastination because it comes from a place of fear, and it’s driven by an incessant need to control. Try to adopt a more realistic outlook on life and accept that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and this might lead to all sorts of unexpected outcomes, so there’s no point in dwelling on things you cannot change.

Don’t look for someone to blame

When something bad occurs, the first thing people tend to do is look for the culprit. However, since life is not always black and white but rather comes in a million shades of grey, sometimes it can be difficult or downright impossible to assign blame to someone or make sense of what happened to you. Loved ones get sick, natural disasters strike out of nowhere, and there’s no one out there who can provide an explanation.

It might be difficult to process a situation that’s unfair or that you don’t fully understand. However, instead of wasting your time looking for the reason or the meaning behind it all, it’s best to spend your resources and energy in a more productive manner by searching for solutions to the problems you’re facing. This might not be what you want to hear, but it needs to be said: wallowing will get you nowhere but keeping a clear mind and taking matters into your own hands might.

Life is chaotic and unpredictable, and that’s exactly what makes it so beautiful. So, even if you don’t like surprises – not even the pleasant kind – you’re still going to experience a lot of them. Learning to deal with these surprises and even embrace them can provide you with peace of mind and make you a stronger person altogether.


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