Alan and I made plans to go to the beach on Tuesday (he works Thursday – Monday). Friends of ours have a cottage not far from here and are wildly generous about letting their friends use it. So I emailed them, just to be sure that it wasn’t already spoken for on Tuesday night. And I waited for a reply. And waited. Our friends were AT the cottage. Out of reach of phone or internet.
What to do? What if we couldn’t spend the night at the cottage?
Alan’s suggestion was to head out there anyway, with a bottle of wine and some snacks. If there was a houseparty going on, we’d share our provisions, go for a swim, have a good time and then head home (our friends are wonderfully flexible and relaxed about these things). Perfect.
Then they called Monday night to say they were just home, the cottage was free and have a great time. We were back to plan A.
The point of the story is that plans do go awry. But if you know this, and think about your alternatives ahead of time, you will make your way through life much more happily.
Expect things to go wrong. Make your plans knowing that deadlines will be missed. Apps won’t work. That thing that must happen at this time? Probably won’t. And when it doesn’t, I will compensate by doing this instead.
This allows you to relax about all those plans and deadlines. And to be pleasantly surprised when things actually do go the way you had hoped.
It works for your relationships, too. If you accept that people are not always at their best, not quite as on top of their game as you’d like them to be, you’ll be far less disappointed when they fail you. And far happier when they don’t.
I know this goes against the grain of a lot of positivity thinking and striving for your best life, but ask yourself this: If you demand nothing less than the best from those around you at all times, how on earth are you ever going to be surprised and delighted by them?