The trick to handling unexpected change

Posted by in Productivity

The trick to handling unexpected change

Every now and then, we find ourselves blindsided righteously by this tumultuous world of ours, which often elicits more than a wee bit of inner turmoil. There’s a trick to getting back on track, though.


Find the consequences


When the world drops an anvil on you and everything suddenly changes, the first thing you should do is to find out what the consequences are. Sit down, shut up and do nothing – preferably for a couple of hours, and let the magical engine that is your brain do what it does best: analyse probable outcomes and how they might affect you. The alternative would be to react spontaneously, which rarely yields an ideal outcome.


Along the way, you’ll start (though in no way finish) processing the emotional aspects such as disappointment, frustration, sadness or simple rage, neither of which do you any favours in the process of making rational decisions, but serve as good indicators for developing a gut feeling for how much you care about the consequences in relation to other things of importance to you.


Find out whether you care


Once you’ve had a little bit of time to let the professional (aka your brain) handle the initial emergency response, it’s time to engage the conscious part of yourself and choose on what level you care – and here’s the trick: you do it binarily, meaning you either do care, or you do not care.


To avoid the situation becoming an unresolved issue and thus a permanent drain on your mental resources, you must invest the time and energy required to complete a potentially harrowing summit of Mount Indecision, and choose.


This is one of the secrets to leading a simpler life that are hidden in plain view: the ability to rationalize any task to the point where it carries no mental payload if a decision is made to not act upon it – to care, if you will. For some, this ability is innate, while for others – such as yours truly – it requires at least some practice.


Find your response


Once you have decided whether or not you care, the rest is simply a matter of taking a look at your long-term goals and choosing the path that you believe will bring you most in alignment with these. Also, remember that some times the smart choice is to lose the battle and win the war.


The simple summary


[box]If fate blindsides you with change from which there is no escape, all that matters is how you react. Contemplate the matter for enough time to feel comfortable that you grasp its full impact, then decide in black-and-white fashion whether you do or do not care. If it’s the former, approach it systematically and react in accordance with your long-term goals – and if it’s the latter, do your best to truly not care. Letting go is underrated.[/box]