Lesson 2: When faced with a problem, rather than act rashly and increase your odds of doing something stupid, instead THINK and ACT from a position of wisdom.
Today’s Life Lesson was inspired by Douglas Adams (Author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy): “Don’t Panic.”
What This Means to You
We face new challenges every day, but how you view that problem and how you react to it make all the difference. Do you see the challenge as a difficult obstacle designed to stop you or as a new opportunity you can use to your advantage? Do you react hastily and just try to bulldoze your way through the challenge or do you take a moment to think first in order to come up with multiple options? My goal here is to help you understand that how you react to those problems can mean the difference between capitalizing on an opportunity or making another foolish error and missing out.
Let’s Look at an Example…
Let’s say you’re in school and your teacher springs a surprise assignment on in English class, “Joey, I want you to give a presentation to the class next week about Abe Lincoln.”
“Ah, ok, Mrs. Wimpydimple.” You reply – totally bummed out at the thought of giving a speech. So you go home and curse life, upset that you’ll have this presentation thing hanging over your head all weekend.
After giving it some thought you come up with the following options:
- Get pissed off, decide not to do the presentation, play Minecraft instead, and just take an F on the assignment
- Realize that you have more than a week to come up with your presentation so you do a little bit each day to prepare for it. (First step – who the heck is this Abe Lincoln guy anyway?)
- Agree to do the assignment but play Minecraft all weekend and just do everything for the presentation on the day before it’s due
- Something else – most likely involving playing Minecraft (perhaps building a giant statue of Honest Abe in Creative Mode).
Let’s explore your answers. If you said Option A, you’ll likely have a hard time convincing the teacher and your parents that it was the correct decision – oh sure, you can make that decision, but the consequences of it probably are not going to turn out well for you. As a result, you may not want to pick that choice. Same goes for Option C – at least this option is a bit better than Option A and you likely won’t fail the assignment, but you won’t score very high either. Sure you can work on your Minecraft skills but if you wait till the last minute you’ll be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on yourself to finish the school assignment in a rush and that generally isn’t very fun. Try again…
The obvious ‘right’ answer (or at least the one your teacher and parents would want you to probably choose) is “B.” You may not like the fact that your teacher gave you a surprise assignment but it’s just part of life – like I said, adversity happens to all of us and things don’t always go our way. However if you can stop for a moment and just breath, you’ll soon realize what I said before — you have options. Don’t panic. Pick a plan — in this case option B. Then follow-through with that plan. As the week unfolds you’ll discover that by doing just a little every day in a calm manner, not only will the presentation preparation be easy, but also you’ll still have plenty of time to play Minecraft and enjoy the weekend with your friends. When the day comes to give the presentation, you’ll be confident and calm – knowing you are well prepared — and thus you’ll do a great job.
Wait, what about Option D – should we just eliminate that one like Options A and C? Not necessarily. I’d let you sell me on the idea of creating a giant Abe Lincoln statue in Minecraft and then using that as part of your presentation. To me, Option D shows some outside the box thinking and as a result, this may be the best option of all – if you do it right: which would most likely be spending time on the assignment to make sure the presentation is strong and then adding the Minecraft statue part on top. Now that would be pretty sweet – can you say ‘extra credit, baby!’ Thus, if you choose Option D, you get to have your cake and eat it too. See, suddenly life isn’t so hard, is it?
If you don’t believe me or Mr. Adams, how about the wisest man of all time? That would be our friend King Solomon and he wrote the following in Proverbs 19:2 “It it not good to have zeal without knowledge nor to be hasty and miss the way.”
Don’t Wait, Use This Wisdom Today
The next time an unexpected obstacle crops up in your way, Don’t Panic – think about it and come up with some options to use the problem to your advantage.
Did You Know?
Today’s lesson came from a book Jax and I wrote called Diary of a Minecraft Dad