Exacting Precision (Especially When Things Go Wrong)

As you all know, I just celebrated my birthday. I’ve had an amazing month with travel, concerts, friends, and so much connectedness. In all honesty, my actual birthday didn’t go down exactly as I’d hoped, but that’s part of life. Is anything exact? 

On my birthday, I bathed at a Korean spa and got together with my best friends for a delicious dinner. It was supportive and full of well-wishes for another revolution around the sun. I had wanted a few other important people present, yet unforeseen circumstances kept them away. How did I deal with it? I kept going.

Like I just asked, is anything exact? Do most things go as planned? In my experience, the answer is no! I can prepare, plan, and plot for a long period of time, but perfection is a wrinkle in my mind. It’s back to the theme of “this is how it should be in my mind, but it’s not going that way in reality.” I wrote about the concept of letting go when I started my blog, and I’m circling back to it again.

I usually want events and things to go exactly as planned. 

(I’m serious about birthdays and mine, in particular.) So when a kink occurred earlier in the week, some shifts were in order. Initially, I was befuddled: how, just hours earlier, were things going so well, and then a miscommunication resulted in a major change? As time unfolded, my mood was ironed out and I was able to make the best of a tough situation. I believe there are not many instances in our world that we can be perfectly, 100% exact. I imagine a few scientific theories or military hypotheses with enough experience, precision, and data that they’re exact. In most other cases, however, we’re making our best guesses.

A best guess has to be good enough. In fact, we have to allow discrepancies in life to occur and to make a best guess in order to survive and thrive. When taking an exam, it’s unlikely to know every answer, so we have to deduce our options and pick a choice that seems most fitting. Same is true in our lives: do what we we can with our given set of circumstances and when we’re not sure if the correct answer is A, B, C, or D, pick the one that fits best.

When things go wrong, we do the next best thing. I believe the next best thing is good enough and probably how it was meant to be anyway. I’m getting wordy here, so  please bear with me. It’s only our mind’s eye that expects everything to go a certain way. Without that silly, off-the-charts expectation, we don’t have the same level of disappointment or discouragement. And the good enough concept works well when things go awry. We have to make cliched lemonade out of life’s lemons or see the silver lining. Any way you want to describe it, our resiliency is what keeps up moving along.

The next best may not be so bad, either. It sure takes pressure off to be perfect or to make sure we look a certain way to our followers. In fact, that sigh of relief that comes from, “wow, I didn’t expect things to go like that but it wasn’t so bad” can be reframed. We can tell ourselves “it’s like this now and I have the tools to deal with this.” I strongly believe that life gives us challenges we can handle. We have support and experiential knowledge for how to proceed. Don’t get me wrong: it may not be fun or easy, but I know you can do it.

I don’t want to set myself up for grave disappointment or exact happiness. Instead, taking things as they come works best and approaching them with solid footing and a smile usually helps. Oh, and a best guess is still my answer of choice.

Please see me at Coaching By Nina Rubin.

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