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This Week in Government
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 01 March 2012 15:39

Dealing with the unexpected a part of life

Nature has a tendency to present us with unexpected problems, often with little or no warning.  Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, and forest fires cause havoc and have a devastating impact on the communities they hit.

There are many areas of the country that are prone to certain natural phenomena.  People living in these areas know if they are flood prone, in tornado alley, have to be concerned about hurricanes, or are likely to be hit by sever snow storms. 

Worrying about unexpected events is a waste of time.  Nothing is accomplished, your stress level is increased, and you energy is depleted.  Attitude, preparation, and planning are key components to surviving the unexpected.  You can’t control the environment but you can control your response.

People who have dealt with hardships make sure they are prepared for the unexpected.  They have extra food and emergency supplies on hand.  They make sure they are equipped to make it through whatever circumstances may come their way.

There is a lot to be learned from how people prepare for natural disasters that will help you deal with all of the unexpected things life throws at you, many of which are not related to nature.  Here are some tips to help you deal with the unexpected.

Start by recognizing and accepting that the unexpected will occur.  Don’t panic when it does.  Your mental state determines how successfully you’ll handle unexpected events.  Panic, shock, fear, and denial prevent you from taking appropriate action when needed.  Other self-defeating emotions are guilt and depression.  Acting like a victim only makes matters worse.

Be prepared for a variety of scenarios.  Don’t wait until something happens to take action.  For example, buy an umbrella or raincoat before it rains.  Save money when times are good so that you have a cash cushion if needed in an economic downturn.  Advance preparation enhances you chances for success when faced with the unexpected.

Maintain a clear mind.  Don’t allow a situation to overwhelm you.  Focus on what action you need to immediately take and start there.  Take one step at a time.  Begin with where you are rather than being discouraged by how far you have to go.

Consider all options before selecting the best course of action.  Avoid knee jerk reactions.  Stay flexible.  Be ready to change strategies as needed.  Adjust to changing circumstances.  Don’t allow your ego to affect your judgment.  If you make a bad decision, take corrective action immediately.

Closely monitor your self-talk.  Replace negative statements with positive ones.  Maintaining and cultivating a positive attitude is essential to getting through unexpected circumstances.  A negative outlook will obscure your thinking, which will prevent you from identifying the best course of action to take.

People around you may be panicking.  Block out their negativity.  Other people’s negative thinking tends to be infectious.  Unless you are vigilant, they will drag you down.  Trying to change their attitude may be futile.  Stay calm while you stay concentrated on what needs to be done.

Take one day at a time or even one hour at a time.  Focus on what needs to be done immediately.  Keep your mind on the task at hand.  Remain active.  Accomplishments are a result of action.

Unexpected events are part of life.  Copy the strategies of those who successfully handle these challenges.  They all utilize the approaches outlined above.  Use your visualization to rehearse your response to various scenarios.  Review different “what if” scenarios and how you would deal with each one.  Expect the unexpected.   You shouldn’t be caught by surprise when you have to deal with it.

NOW AVAILABLE:  "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or write him c/o this paper.  2011 Bryan Golden

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By: Larry Limpf

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