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9:27 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo source: mpietkevich.com

I remember when I was a little kid and saw one of the first curse words I’d ever learned written out (and even appearing in public no less!) in the form of a bumper sticker that read, “Sh*t happens.” While the saying got a chuckle out of me at the time (much to the chagrin of my parents), little did I realize that said bumper sticker was offering up an insightful life philosophy worth pondering.

Like it or not, it turns out that sh*t does happen. And yeah, this is me (an eternal optimist as many of you faithful readers know) blogging this. But when you think about it, acknowledging that sh*t does happen doesn’t make someone a pessimist. It just makes them wise to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen. Whether or not life’s “sh*t” (however you define it) disrupts our everyday, it’s how we handle it that really matters (and, therefore, actually determines whether one is an optimist or not).

Recently, the sh*t has hit the fan for a couple close friends of mine. And given that I’ve dealt with my own forms of sh*t over the years, my friends often turn to me for advice. These days, I’m all about being proactive. So recently when a friend told me he was worried about losing his job, I told him to plan for it. Same was true when a girlfriend recently confessed that she was scared about getting a divorce since she still loved her husband and they had several young children. Again, I suggested she plan for it.

Now, I wasn’t telling these friends that losing a job or a spouse was inevitable. I was letting them know that having a “Plan B” would actually help them sleep better at night – not to mention give them the knowledge to know that no matter what transpired, they had a plan and, thus, they would both be okay. In fact, I firmly believe that sometimes just having a plan in place keeps the bad (or sh*tty!) things from happening all together. But there will be days that bad things do happen. So we might as well be prepared for them.

In the past, when I feared something would go wrong or that I’d be hit with devastating circumstances, I would worry, moan and shift into victim-mode. This was basically a way of letting evryone around me (along with the universe) know that I was useless and couldn’t handle any life altering event thrown my way. What a wimp I was.

The fact of the matter is, challening things are going to happen from time to time. But again, it’s not these life events that define us, it’s how we handle them.

One day I simply learned that knowing how I would handle any situation I was worried about happening took away all of the situation’s power (whether it eventually happened or not). Don’t get me wrong. I want my friend to keep his job. And I want my girlfriend to stay married to her husband (for their sake and the sake of their three kids). But if either of these situations do not work out, it will be for the best. The choice is theirs how quickly ‘the best’ arrives into their lives. It might be days after the supposedly devestating event. Or it might be weeks. Or, as it was with me in regard to some of life’s past blows, it might be years. Again, the choice is theirs… And mine… And yours.

Is there something you’re facing that’s infecting your life with fear and worry? Whether smallish or potentially life–altering, I suggest you sit down and begin to write out your Plan B. You might not arrive at all the answers and strategies you’ll need to rise like a phoenix from the ashes right away. But starting your Plan B is just that – a start. And a very fine way for you to prove to your boss, to your spouse or whomever (even the universe – or, better yet, yourself) that you’ve got what it takes to not only survive, but to thrive.

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