In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.
You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.
And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.
What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?
I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.
We’re often brought up to believe that risk is a bad thing.
But the truth is it depends on the risk.
Packing up and moving to a new city could be considered risky but it’s not a bad thing. On the flipside, gambling away your savings hoping to hit the big time is risky and it’s not a particularly good idea.
I think when it comes to taking risks you know whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how you’ll feel if it doesn’t work out.
When the risk not panning out means your safety at risk it’s probably not something worth pursing. Let’s take the gambling example.
If it turns out well you could walk away with more than your annual salary which is enticing. However, if we look at what happens if things go wrong you’ll realise that you gain nothing. If you gamble away thousands of pounds you don’t leave the experience haven’t learnt a lesson.
Those kinds of risks aren’t worth taking.
But when you try something new, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to grow and develop into the kind of person you want to be.
It’s easy to put things off and get caught up in analysing every possible outcome.
You might find yourself visualising the path you’re considering, hoping for a sign that the time to do it is now.
Or maybe you go online and do some research hoping to find a story that resonates from someone that took a chance.
There are only ever 2 choices, do nothing or do something.
Staying still, stuck and stagnant rarely feels good. Often once the moment to choose passes and you do nothing you end up regretting it.
But when you decide to take action and do something you open yourself up to the possibilities of life.
It might scare you but sometimes it’s time to jump.
If you find yourself experiencing a difficult situation, similar to something you have faced in your past you have the opportunity to handle it differently and with new knowledge and experience.
Don’t just caught up in the thought of ‘why is this happening to me again?’. Instead thing about what you can do to get the outcome you desire.
Answer the questions:
What did you do last time?
What did you want to happen?
What was the outcome?
What can you do differently this time?
Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, it’ll feel good to know that you handled things better than you did in the past
The feeling of regret is always uncomfortable, especially when you think that making a different choice would have led to a better life.
When you reach this conclusion, what do you do next?
Do you take charge, choose the other choice and commit to it in order to reach the outcome you believe is possible.
Or do you get swept up in the feeling of regret and allow your mind to go round and round in circles telling stories about how that single choice you made has ruined your life.
The other option is to stick with the decision you made and make the best of the path you’re on.
It can be difficult to decide but if you put less pressure on the decision you make, things start to feel a whole lot easier.
What also helps is knowing that whatever you pick, things will turn out totally fine.
In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.
If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.
What did you want?
What was the outcome?
Were you happy with the way things turned out?
It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.
But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.
People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.
However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.
When you discuss a complex issue with someone who has little to no knowledge of the issue, you’re unlikely to get the desired outcome.
More often than not you’ll end up frustrated and they’ll end up defensive.
It takes time to learn and understand complex issues but it also takes some unlearning.
When a person discovers new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs, they will never automatically accept it, it’s too difficult.
The things we believe shape how we define ourselves and the decisions we make so when something effects that, it’s frightening. You might find yourself questioning your entire existence.
On the other hand, it’s can be much easier to just stick with what you know.
If that’s the conscious choice you make don’t pretend that you’re not aware of the complex issues.
When taking a risk pays off, it’s easy to get caught up in the fact that things turned out the way you wanted.
But I think it’s important to also focus on the reason behind taking the risk in the first place.
You did it because you believed it was worth it, you knew it would get you a step closer to where you want to be, you wanted to push yourself and try something new or you had the confidence that it would work out.
Sometimes the reason behind the risk is more important than the outcome.
Sometimes it might seem like you’re missing out. But the power of hindsight is that when you push too hard for a particular outcome you’ll find that you’ll be glad you missed out.
Turns out some things aren’t meant to be even if you don’t realise in the moment.
We often get caught up in ‘fomo’ feeling like we have to join in with everything.
But sometimes a useful thing to do is force yourself to miss out as a reminder that it’s not as big of deal as you think.
And if you did miss something, well there’s always next time.
The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most buildings in the the world. Its lean comes from what I suppose was a flaw in geo-technical calculations. It is unstable soil and settlement of the foundation that causes the tower to lean.
Yet, what could have been disastrous turned out pretty spectacularly. Probably because it started to lean during construction at a slow enough pace that it could be mitigated rather than leaning on completion with the chance of toppling over at any moment.
The point is that sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want them to be. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still turn out well. The leaning tower of Pisa was accidentally great.
Would we still love it without the lean? Probably not as much.
Would we still love it if it was supposed to lean? I doubt it.