26 March 2007

The Vacation Philosphy Applied to Everything

Expectations are powerful things.

My hubby and I have adopted a philosophy when we go on vacation: we start with the expectation that a few things are going to go wrong. We'll pick a number, say 3, for how many things can go wrong before we get upset. This is not to say that we put our hands over our ears and yell "LALALALALAICAN'THEARYOU" when something does go wrong. It's just that we don't get spun up so quickly because we're expecting one or two things to go wrong. It just seems more realistic.

So we have the same kinds of experiences we've always had, because let's face it it's rare that everything goes without a hitch or bump, but it doesn't get to us because we expect it. Here's a hypothetical for how it works... we're at the airport ready to board and they announce a delay. Okay, we say, a small delay is no big deal, that's "thing that wen't wrong #1." We're calm and we go forward from there, mentally checking it off the list. What we find is that we rarely get to "thing that went wrong #3." This is sort of the opposite of catastrophizing. We don't go in saying "this is going to suck" and "anything that can go wrong will." Just a built in cushion for the minor things everybody encounters.

This has worked so well, I'm thinking I should apply this to all phases of my life (social events, work projects, house repairs, etc.) Plan for the best, be delighted if the best is the reality, but expect something less. Getting spun up rarely helps a situation. Sure once in a while you want a full head of steam when you're dealing with someone who isn't dealing with you appropriately but most of the time it just gets in the way or makes you feel lousy and doesn't affect the intended target at all.

Hm, maybe I could start a "Vacation Philosophy" movement. Might make everybody a little more serene. :)

No comments: