Do You Leave Room for the Unexpected In Your Life?

Years ago, I was in a business networking group that met weekly for breakfast. One week, a former manager at the Sovereign Bank in Tribeca told this story. Apparently, there was an old lady in her 80s who used to come in and hang out at the branch for hours — she was lonely and just wanted someone to talk to. So the staff would get her coffee and chat a little.

This went on for weeks until one day, she came into the bank with three shopping bags filled with cash — $600,000 in cash, which she had been keeping under her mattress. She had an account at another bank but she decided to deposit the money with Sovereign because they had treated her so well.

This could be a “don’t judge a book by its cover” story. Or a “people still keep money in their mattresses?!” story.

But I want to make it an “expect the unexpected” story.

Because that isn’t our natural tendency: Our human brains don’t want to use up precious energy thinking (it’s a survival thing) so they’re wired to look for familiar patterns, to quickly scan information from our environment and automatically categorize it as “like the time where THAT happened.”

What this means, however, is our brain does not — cannot — know how things will happen. It only knows how things have happened. And too often, it’s convinced of the worst (that survival thing again). When, in fact, there is endless potential for the magical to happen if…if we surrender to the present moment. (Oh, you knew that was coming?)

But really, what would it feel like to sit in a place of “not knowing:” to fully experience what’s happening right now without trying to control future outcomes based on what’s happened in the past?

What if I didn’t know how I feel about the weekly meeting?
What if I didn’t know what my colleague/boss says when I make a suggestion?
What if I didn’t know how my four-year-old acts when I tell him it’s time to go to bed, or what my spouse says when I change up the routine?

Do you think maybe we’d start to see things happen in our world — both trivial and mind-blowing  — that we never imagined possible?


  1. Pingback: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do : Game Plan for Mental Toughness + Resilience

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