How To Prepare For The Unanticipated


When faced with the unanticipated, it is impossible to know at any given moment all the factors that contributed or led to a particular situation.  Even if you are alert, there is no guarantee that any of these contributing factors will be discernible when they present themselves.  One possible course of action is to be primed and ready as best as you can, and accept that you will never be able to anticipate every possible scenario thrown at you.  The hope is that you’ll be familiar and prepared for one or more of these unanticipated situations, thereby validating any time you’ve spent preparing for the inevitable.

At the same time, preparing for such unanticipated situations takes a great deal of energy and introspection and can easily turn into an obsessive replay of infinite scenarios in the hope of being ready for the ones that do present themselves.  Weighted in procrastination, this desire to find a workable solution is motivated more by a fear of being wrong, rendering you more prone to failure, or reinforcing that pattern that made you avoid making a choice in the first place.  And avoiding making a choice or procrastinating, it turns out, is also a choice – the choice to do nothing – with its own set of consequences.

In the context above, it can be inferred that we are talking about dealing with only one unanticipated situation with one plausible or identifiable outcome. But life is rarely linear in its ebb and flow.  In fact, unforeseen or unanticipated situations come at us fast and furious, often in tandem, and it can be difficult to sort them out, let alone discern their relation or interconnectedness to one another.  Simply dealing with all these unknowns can easily become a distraction, drawing your attention away from often more prescient or important situations in your life that also require your attention, and before you know it, situations, opportunities, omens, insights, pivots, answers come and go so fast before you that you may become oblivious to their appearance and incapable of recapturing them once they’ve passed you by.

At this point, you may be telling yourself that all this sounds exactly the opposite of how you can prepare for the unanticipated since the mere fact of trying to identify and overcome them can lead to mistakes and missed opportunities unless you are an experienced multitasker.  Even then, multitasking can only go so far in the number or amount of information that can be processed at once: a good multitasker would soon reach his apex of situations he is able to juggle at once.

By now it should be pretty clear that the unanticipated IS synonymous with the unknown. Some may argue that the two are quite different from one another. However, from the individual’s perspective, anything not encountered or learned previously, can never be part of their present thoughts since it would be difficult to even formulate questions about what one knows nothing about. This is where prejudice – in all its forms – rears its ugly head. At its core is ignorance begotten by humanity’s fear of what is unfamiliar, taking the shape of cultural stereotypes, passed down from one generation to the next, with little or no basis in biological reality.

Despite all this bullshit, understanding the unknown is still important! It requires an open mind and heart so that you can minimize fear, making it possible to see the unknown as a challenge rather than a threat. As such, the unknown becomes a quest for the truth, whether it’s in your life or part of a collective path to use what is not known as a way to sharpen your skills, making it all part of the known, trusting that all past experiences, painful, difficult or revelatory, are preparation for what you may face currently. The choice you make is less important than what you learn, over time, from the process that leads to illumination. Then, better choices are more likely to be taken.