Embracing surprise is not for the faint-hearted. There is opportunity in surprise, for those who are open enough to look for it and see it. Sometimes it takes curiosity to find it, but opportunity is almost there. The question is, how will you respond to the surprises and opportunities that roll into your life?
Life is change. When you stop to think about it, life is mostly a big pot of uncertainty and instability. But, when I’m on automatic pilot, life seems constant and stable; it flows along. It’s only when I take intentional, conscious control of my thoughts and life that I realize that our existence is anything but constant and stable. Actually, it often seems that it is about disruption of my world. “Normal” has always been a bit of an illusion, but especially since COVID, the only thing that’s normal about life is that there is no normal. Are you startled by that notion?
My Oura ring reports my Heart Rate Variability. Before Oura, I hadn’t really thought about the variability of my heart rate as being an indicator of health. I’d assumed that a constant, steady heartbeat was a sign of health and vitality. Surprise! Evidently, a variable heart rate is a sign of health and vitality. The more the variability, the greater the health — at least to a point. (If you want to learn more, here’s an article about HRV.)
How can there be opportunity in surprise? Opportunity is how you perceive surprise. It’s like Heart Rate Variability; the more variability you have in your responses to surprise the more opportunity you have to make a good situation out of the change. The opportunity in surprise is that you get to find balance in your life as life shifts under and around you. A healthy life is like a healthy heart — you want variability to maintain your resilience. When you have that, you are creative in handling whatever comes to you.
How creative are you when surprises come rolling at you? Do you wish you’d anticipated the change or challenge and trained or planned for it? Or, are you tickled that you get to think through the situation in the moment and pull together a great solution for what’s happening to you right now? If you’d trained and planned for it, would the elements you need for a satisfactory solution at the time of the change be there for you? Or, would that bring another surprise? By thinking through the opportunities for what’s happening right now, you get to course correct and improve what you were doing. How sweet is that?
Disrupted plans that engender surprise provide another example of opportunity. Do you see challenges, aka disruptions, as problems, or opportunities? You reduce your stress and boost your spirits when you see challenges as opportunities. You don’t have control over the disruptions, only your reactions to the disruptions. When you fret, you shut down your creativity and flexibility in solving the challenge and maneuvering around the disruption.
I find that when I have to redo something, say because my computer crashed and lost my article, the second effort is better than the first. That’s a great opportunity! I could choose to get mad at the crash or choose to embrace the surprise and the new opportunity to recraft the article. Guess which I choose? 🙂 Embracing the surprise lets my creativity flow more smoothly with better results. I also find that I’m more at peace with the world when I don’t let disruption ruffle my feathers.
A long time ago I recognized that the only normal is uncertainty and chaos. Today, I see that in a more pronounced way than ever. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath, swallow hard, and marshal on. But, embracing the surprises in life has contributed to a much richer and more satisfying life for me. It will for you, too.
Go ahead: embrace that surprise — and enjoy the opportunities.
For more thoughts on emracing surprise, <a href=”https://liveinfocusedenergy.com/finding-your-balance-with-embracing-surprise/”>Finding Your Balance With Embracing Surprise</a>