Like it or Not, Unforeseen Events Will Happen

December 23, 2018

What’s the purpose of life? To live it or to control it? Living it will satisfy us but controlling it will never bring us any joy. That’s why we should enjoy life to the fullest. Although unforeseen events will happen, learning to anticipate them and prepare for them will help us enjoy the things we can’t control.

Usually the word “unforeseen” describes something that takes us by surprise. We must know how to differentiate the unforeseen from the foreseen. We can’t deceive ourselves by calling some situations that, due to laziness or forgetfulness, we have made no effort to avoid predictable. A lack of foresight always leads to improvisation.

The worst thing about unforeseen events is that, once they happen, we become so busy looking for a solution that we forget to ask ourselves if we could have foreseen them. And when we realize that it’s too late to solve the problem, we usually feel discouraged and helpless.

How to prepare for the unforeseen events in your life

Sometimes, life disrupts everything, including the problems we think we have. Existence is not what we think or want. It’s what happens to us. By only acting on what happens to us, and not on what we imagine or want, we can tackle any contingency that may arise.

People who like to be in control worry a lot about unforeseen events.

Although it’s not easy to survive the unexpected, it’s not impossible either. First of all, we must understand that unexpected situations will always happen. Thus, it’s better to be prepared for them once they happen and have additional resources to draw on.

Here are four tips that will help you deal with unexpected events a lot better:

  • Prepare a plan B. You should always have several different paths you can follow.
  • Anticipation. Think about the most probable events that may happen. Prepare a contingency plan for each of them.
  • Make decisions with self-confidence. Even if you don’t have all the information before an unforeseen event, trust that you know what’s right in each situation.
  • Ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing that something has caught you off guard and that you need a helping hand.

Some people want so much control that they forget to live

Some people think they can control everything. This belief is related to how our memory plays tricks on us by judging the facts and manipulating information to support our choices. This can lead to control fallacy.

Unforeseen events can make us feel out of control.

People who are obsessed with control don’t really enjoy life. They assume that they’re responsible for everything that happens around them. On one hand, this can make them feel omnipotent. On the other hand, this can lead them to feel extremely incompetent in handling their own problems and externally controlled by others or by their circumstances.

These characteristics make them very obsessive and controlling, leaving little room for crazy or funny situations. In addition, they tend to suffer when they can’t control something.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) makes us reflect on the usefulness of control. While it’s true that most situations can be handled through our conscious effort, the opposite happens in a small but important percentage of situations. The more we try to control them, the more uncontrollable and traumatic they become.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

-Reinhold Niebuhr-