Your life is a story book with three main ingredients. It’s a cosmic recipe for life. When things aren’t going as planned, do you know how to change the trajectory?
Expect the Unexpected
If you are expecting the unexpected, doesn’t that mean you expect it to happen? Actually, the answer is no. If you already expect the possibility of “xyz” happening, that doesn’t mean you are prepared for “abc.” They are two different things. So, what does it mean to expect all the possibilities that you aren’t expecting?
It’s the difference between riding on a train and surfing. When you ride a train, it follows the tracks. You can anticipate with a high degree of probability what to expect. However, when you are surfing a wave, you must be ready for unanticipated changes based on unforeseen variables of wind and depth of the ocean.
All this time, you thought surfers were anti-social slackers. But, they are actually involved in training the mind to expect the unexpected and react just the right way to keep balance and the direction you want.
Let’s look more closely at the ingredients that go into this journey.
The Ingredients of Choice, Chance and Love
“Your life is a story book you write one page or day at a time. Sometimes we don’t use the ingredients in the right amounts and that changes the story in ways we don’t want. Sometimes chaos and chance can change the plot and we must learn to write new plot twists.” — Guru Tua
The Fallacy of Choice
On the surface, the concept that we make our own choices seems straightforward, but it’s not. Not everyone has the same options in life, so this limits the choices that are available. If you are in a minority, lower socioeconomic urban environment, your choices are not the same as those of a white male with a middle class background. One of them has many more educational and life choices than the other. One of them my need to quit highschool early to help support the family with a minimum wage job, if they can find one.
Sometimes it becomes a choice between two lesser options. If you can’t find a job because your travel options are limited, and your choices are steal or starve, the choice is obvious. People not faced with this situation will say, well, they just need to find a job or get welfare. But if you are hungry today, you can’t wait until you can fill out forms and have those forms approved and wait weeks for the answer.
Choices are different if you have a disability of any kind. Sure, there are laws that protect both minorities and people with disabilities, but laws do not create the same opportunities as those can afford to pay for exceptional health care and educational services.
It is obvious to people from other modern countries that the system in the USA is set up to oppress those of certain backgrounds. Choices are limited to keep people away from representation in the government for that very reason.
Your life is a story book that may not have opportunities as others, but you can control how you how you handle the obstacles that present themselves.
Preparing for Chance
Chance is just the possibility of something occurring, like the flipping of a coin. Preparing for the consequences of life decisions is difficult because no one other than yourself can bear the burden.
If we had all the information about every large life decision, that would be great, but that’s not reality. Most major life decisions are time sensitive and so we don’t have all the time in the world to research every aspect. Also, most major life decisions cannot accurately predict the unintended and unexpected consequences.
So, we are back to the analogy of the surfer. You make the best decision you can in the time you have with the information you have and then see what happens. If you turned to sharp, can you turn back? If you don’t turn sharp enough, can you still correct? Or do you end up falling and learning from the experience?
If you don’t have the skill set to learn from falling, you’ll keep committing the same mistake. That’s why there aren’t there are very few world-class surfers. They fall a lot, but they learn, and they have persistence because they want to surf.
Chance, chaos, coincidence and synchronicity are different ways to express the same thing. It doesn’t matter what you call the wave as long as you remember the basics. First, pick the wave that looks and feels right, which means trust your instincts about major life decisions. Second, paddle to catch the wave, which means do as much as you can to prepare. Third, always maintain your balance. To maintain balance means maintaining your emotional equilibrium so that you can make the proper adjustments.
Don’t Forget to Add Love
There are many different kinds of love, but no matter the flavor, it’s one of the strongest positive emotions. Sometimes love is uncontrollable and sometimes we can direct or learn to project it.
Compassion for others is a type of love. It’s an emotion that can be an automatic response to another or it can be because of a decision. The same with friendliness. You can choose to be friendly or unfriendly.
Chance and love intersect at specific times, which present us with an opportunity, a choice. For example, you witness someone on the street who has had an accident, they’ve fallen down and are hurt. This is an opportunity to help.
What is interesting with situations like this is our reaction to the situation is often based on the value we place on human life and on the number of other people present.
The bystander effect (1) shows we are less likely to help someone if there are others present. The more people there are around the accident, the less likely for any one person to help. It is why we see crowds gather around someone who has fallen, yet no one helps.
Another major factor in whether someone receives help is their social acceptability. If someone who is well-groomed and wearing a business suit falls, people are more likely to assist almost immediately. However, if someone considered socially unacceptable falls, people are more likely to ignore them. Homeless people can remain on the ground for hours on busy streets and people will pass them by. The same for someone who is not well-groomed and is wearing clothes that don’t represent an acceptable social class. (2)
Age is also a major factor. Children are more likely to be helped than the elderly. You can watch YouTube videos that document these findings over and over. Yet, there are also instances when some break the mold and step forward to help. We call these people the Champions of Kindness. They expect the unexpected because they are ready to show compassion.
“I write from the heart when I can, when my ego isn’t getting in the way. I love, share and make mistakes. When I can, I erase the mistakes before I publish them. That way, they don’t end up in actions and words I can’t unmake.
You are a “story” book, too. If you read this, you are in my story too. Are you ready for a plot change? Our stories have different chapters. What will you write next?
My friends and those who love me help me create this story. They help me make edits as I go along. They remind me of the best parts of my story.
It really helps to remember the delightful parts of my story. I re-read them now and then. I see and hear your beautiful life story. It encourages me to keep writing mine.” — Guru Tua
Your Life is A Story Book Key Points
There are some key messages here. First, don’t copy someone else’s pages. Don’t live your life according to someone else’s plans or expectations. It’s hard to do. Some parents try to live vicariously through the lives of their children. Breaking this chain is an essential lesson in life.
Even if you succeed in the prescribed career path, living and achieving things someone else wants, you fail. Hence, you’ll be miserable and resentful because you’ll have wasted precious time and effort. In the end, the achievements will be hollow, and you will be unhappy. Instead, be your original unique self.
Do not discount the impact you have on the lives of others, especially acts of kindness. Even the tiniest acts of friendliness and compassion can make a huge, lasting impression. We underestimate and misjudge our influence because of the mixed messages we get from popular culture. The priority of our society is to commercialize exceptions.
Take calculated risks. Your life won’t be interesting if you always take the easy route. However, don’t risk foolishly, but don’t shy away from challenges or opportunities that may change the course of your life.
When testing the risk, always consider the impact on others and the environment. Don’t worry; you’ll make mistakes, but you won’t have regrets about not taking advantage of an opportunity.
Finally, be sure to learn from your mistakes. Don’t forget them, but minimize them in your memories. Don’t allow negative emotions from an error to taint your attitude. Learn from your successes too, but magnify them. Use them as stepping stones to keep your attitude positive.
Learn how to expect the unexpected by being a champion of kindness. Use the principles of surfing to be ready for the opportunities presented by chance and love and make the right choice. Your life is a story. You must decide on what energy to channel and what legacy you want to leave others.
(1) The Bystander Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect
(2) Principles of Psychology: https://opentextbc.ca/socialpsychology/chapter/other-determinants-of-helping/