On Labor Day weekend, we had plans to go on a long bike ride. We were going to do a 65-mile route that we had done before, but this time we would reverse our course and be faced with some pretty big hills.
Notice that I said that we had PLANS. That’s the funny thing about plans— they don’t always come to fruition.
It happened at exactly 1.8 miles. I heard a loud pop that sounded like a gunshot. At first, I had no idea what had just happened. Within a few seconds, the source of the noise was apparent. My back tire was flat. As we pulled over to fix the tire, my first thought was, “Well there goes my plan of doing this ride within the allotted amount of hours!” Then, I forced myself to focus on the task at hand— changing the tire. We replaced the inner tube and filled the tire with air once more.
Guess what happened? Again, the tire immediately made the loud popping noise. That’s when we noticed the tire was shredded on the side.
It was clear that we weren’t riding anywhere and I would be walking home 1.8 miles.
My first thought this time was “We can’t go now, our day is ruined!” and my feeling was one of disappointment. This was not what we had planned. Then, my problem solving took over. We discussed how and where I could get another tire. As I walked my bike back to my house, I thought about how I was still going to make this ride happen. You see, I had my whole day planned. I was going to go shopping after my ride but now that wasn’t going to work. So I quickly thought through my new plan.
By the time I got home, I sprang into action. I went shopping and ran some errands while my husband went to buy another tire. After lunch, we were ready to ride again.
On my bike ride, I thought about the earlier experience and how it really wasn’t any different from what happens to most of us everyday. Things happen and our reaction to those things determines our level of stress and unhappiness. As humans, we like to control our world. We feel safe, secure and in control when we have structure, plans and know what to expect in life. However, life can rarely be controlled so tightly. No matter how hard you try to control things, stuff happens that you didn’t count on.
Many times, the stuff that happens is far worse than a little flat tire.
Now think about the last time that your plans were upended? How did you react?
This skill that enables you to ride the waves when your life turns upside down and things don’t go the way you expected is called RESILIENCE. Most of us are not born with this skill but if you work hard, you can definitely develop it over time. Just like me, you’ll always have that first thought that acknowledges your disappointment and initial reaction to the new turn of events. However, the next thought and feeling is pivotal to where you end up. The next thought and feeling determines whether you can change how things turn out.
Stuff is always going to happen. This stuff seems to undermine your plans in life. Learn to weather those changes so you can still find the success you desire in both your personal and professional life!