Then, This Completely Amazing Thing Happened . . .
How many stories have we all told that include the line, “Then, this completely amazing thing happened.” There are variations, of course: “Then, you won’t believe what happened;” or “Then, everything changed, out of the blue.”
Life surprises us—often with a great turn of events. We couldn’t see it coming, yet it must have been woven into the narrative that was unfolding before it, or it would never come to pass.
“I figured we were looking at another disappointing year of revenue, but, then, everything changed out of the blue.”
“I had just pretty much concluded I would be alone for the rest of my life when . . . this completely amazing thing happened.”
“I could never have predicted what happened next.”
Yet, no matter how many time life surprises us with relief or success, we still seem amazed the next time it does. Maybe it would be wise, then, to keep our eyes open for turnaround moments, at every moment—especially the dark ones.
I am not arguing for pie-in-the-sky thinking or putting on rose-colored glasses. Seeing things for what they are is crucial. But, one of the ways things are is unpredictable. And one of the unpredictable elements of any story is that unexpected great turn of events. So, shouldn’t we be alert for that kind of event unfolding? Shouldn’t we even expect it to unfold?
I believe we should. I believe that expecting a sudden, positive turn of events amidst adversity allows us to detect hints of such a turn of events sooner and take advantage of them more readily. It also may be that expecting “better” somehow helps manifest it—if through no other means than allowing you to project confidence when you might, otherwise, not.
“Then, this completely amazing thing happened,” is a close cousin of, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.” But it takes things one step further. It not only argues that we should allow for positive events, but also that we should look for them.
Finally, there’s a kind of reverse engineering that I sometimes advise. Think to yourself, “If something were to occur to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, in this situation, what would it be?” Then, go down the path of searching for that very event—a new investor for your startup, a new medicine for your health problem, a new defender and friend when the chips are down.
True, the most amazing things happen when least expected, but that’s only because our faith falters. If you can maintain faith, even in dark hours, the light may well burn brightly—and, sooner, rather than later.
Dr. Keith Ablow