Jan 152011
Composure by Chris O’Neill

In life, there is only one right way that things should go and that is our way. We want to get what we want when we want it. But life has a mind of its own and seldom conforms to our will. No matter how well we lay our plans, things rarely go as planned. I would know. I have laid careful plans only to watch my world crumble around me when they turned out otherwise. What then can we do to ensure that things turn out well? Here are some suggestions from my personal experience that will help you to manage better.

Eggs in a Basket by Bart Maguire


Never put all your eggs in one basket or all your hopes on one option. Watching your one plan or idea fail is a bitter pill to swallow. Having no other alternative makes this reality even more devastating. Always have a backup plan or alternatives that you can fall back on. This helps to lower the expectations you have so that you can cope better if things do not go your way. Yes, we should lay the best plans we can and hope for the best. But if things do not go well, we have other contingency plans to cope as well. Having multiple plans and options is the mark of any successful person.

Remember the Big Picture

When things do not go the way we plan, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and bemoan our fate. This is especially so when we are heavily invested in the outcome. But bad news might actually be good news. For example, our muscles and endurance can only grow when we tax them to the limits. The soreness that follows is a sign that our bodies are adapting to cope with the stress we place on it. Likewise, we may lack the capacity to handle a new enterprise initially. Thus, we have to go through certain hardships to acquire the needed skills to cope. So even if things do not go the way we hope initially, it may well be another necessary step towards our goals. This in turn is part of the larger process of success.

Patience for Process

Everything unfolds at its own time and place. We must allow development to take its proper course. Being hasty and trying to speed things up is often counter-productive. In our haste, we might cut corners and miss a few steps that are vital to the process. We cannot hurry the growth of a tree or the growth of children. They must go through all the stages at their own pace. Likewise, we cannot hurry events. We can only do what we can to ensure that the process unfolds properly. Here patience is important because the last thing we would want is to have to correct needless mistakes made due to haste.

Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

When things do not turn out as planned, it is easy to be stuck wishing it were otherwise. Instead of focusing on the solution, we focus on the problem. But we do not have the luxury of time. With each moment that passes, the problem could get bigger if we do not do something about it. This is especially so if we are right in the middle of a crisis. Even so, if we can train ourselves to find the answer and channel our energies in that direction, we should be able to handle most things.

The Importance of Knowing Early

All the points above work well enough when things do not go our way. But if we knew in advance that things would not go as planned, it would tilt the scales further to our advantage.

Knowing early is important. Whether things turn out well or not, we need to know early. The earlier we know the outcome, the more time we have to adapt and adjust. Additionally, we also have more time to recover our wits from despair or shock. The moment we add our intent and actions to events already in motion, the signs are there to tell us the outcome. By reading these signs early through divination, we will derive the following benefits.

1. More Time to Pre-empt and Prepare

If we know where our plans will go wrong in advance, we can take measures to correct those problems. Or if it is a matter of timing, we could abandon or defer the plan and change our actions. In the meantime, we could focus on other things instead. The main point is that knowing early will save us the trouble and costs of making needless mistakes.

2. Focus On Key Areas

Knowing how things will turn out in advance allows us to focus. We only have so much energy and resources to devote to any enterprise. If we are unsure of what is important, it means we have to spread out our resources to many areas. As a result, we could end up wasting some of these resources on areas that do not matter. But by divining the outcome, we can foresee which areas are vital to our success. With this knowledge, we can concentrate our efforts on these areas and use our limited resources more wisely.

Bizarre Job Interview by Ted Murphy

Knowing Early in Practice: Interviews

To illustrate the benefits of knowing early, I shall share my personal experience with job interviews. I never liked going for interviews. Despite my careful preparations, I was still walking into the unknown. After all, I had to show the interviewers why I was the best person for the job but I could not be sure what they were looking for. Sure, there was the job description. But from my experience, I knew that the job description never really conveyed the true picture. Interviewers might have hidden criteria that could make or break my chances. Not knowing what to expect meant that I fumbled and wasted many chances when questions took me by surprise.

Then I learned divination and things changed. At first, I was uncertain of using it for interviews. After all, how could divination improve my chances? But I was desperate and I had nothing to lose so I prepared as best as I could and divined the outcome. And what a difference it made! Although I was skeptical at first, the interview unfolded as I had divined. I knew how the interview would proceed and which areas the interviewers would focus on. All I had to do was to say what they wanted to hear to convince the interviewers that I was the right person for the job. Soon enough I got a call from the company and I got the job. Take a moment and imagine how your life would be different if you knew in advance how an important meeting would turn out.

Seizing the Moment by Chris O’Neill

The Art of Seizing Opportunities

There are many sayings out there, about how we must seize opportunities. This is simply because opportunities are rare. If we miss the moment, we may never get a second chance. Being prepared is one thing. But knowing how to make the best of each opportunity determines whether you will benefit from it or waste it. Knowing which risk to take determines whether you will bask in glory or suffer injuries as a result.

We cannot control events because we cannot control everything that is in motion. The permutations and combinations are beyond human comprehension. It is not something that we can foresee with logic alone. There is also no way we can get every person around us to conform to our will. This is why we learn to accept our helplessness in the face of events. This is why we have to leave ourselves at the mercy of the fates after we prepare as best as we can.

But it does not have to be this way. It is true that we cannot control events, but we can better manage our reactions to them. Consider my interview experience above. How can I as an interviewee, tell the interviewer who to hire or what criteria he should look for? These events are outside my control and I must accept them. But, I can control my reactions to events if I know early enough what is to happen. In this case, I can show the interviewer I am the person for the job by focusing the on aspects that he wants to see. Likewise, if you know early what each situation demands, you can seize opportunities by focusing on those needs.

Taking Action

What do you do when things do not go your way? What other ways of coping have I missed out? Do share your thoughts and comments below. :)

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  21 Responses to “How to Manage Unfavourable Outcomes”

  1. Anticipation is a powerful thing, and so is having the big picture in mind. Sometimes the best we can do is roll with the punches and I like your point on spreading your eggs over more than one basket. And the paradox is sometimes we have to put all our eggs in a basket and be all in to pull our ideas off.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Go for the Epic WinMy Profile

    • Hi J.D.

      I agree with you it is a paradox. Sometimes we have to put all our eggs in one basket. At other times we have to spread them out. Such is life and there is no one fixed approach to deal with it because change is the only constant. The only thing we can do is to flow with events and act as the times demand.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  2. You are so smart Irving. Having patience, being prepared, and taking action will cause us to regain control when unfavorable things happen to us. Also asking for help and relying on positive people to share their energy with us when we are at low points will get us on track faster. Thanks Irving!
    Dandy recently posted..Live out of your imagination- not your history!My Profile

    • Hi Dandy,

      You raise some excellent points about asking for help and relying on positive people to help us manage unfavourable outcomes. No one is an island and we could always use help and advice which might provide the solution we are looking for.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  3. Where do you find these great photos?! Seizing the moment is amazing. And I also really liked the one of the woman pulling the vehicle on your last post.

    For myself, I try to detach from the outcome as much as I can. I might want a particular outcome and do whatever I can to prepare for it, including many of the things you suggest, but in the end, I try to trust that the outcome will be exactly what it should be, which might not be what I wanted!

    There is a great passage from Another Roadside Attraction where one of the characters says that she is going to go into a trance until she can discover how to prolong the lives of butterflies. After a time, she emerges and says, “The lifespan of the butterfly is precisely the right length.”
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Happiness RemindersMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Well after I write the article, I try to think of what kind of pictures would enhance my message. I think of the words and imagine what I am looking for. Then I would drop by flickr and search for those words or related words. It helps to have an idea of what you are looking for. As I go through many pictures, I select the one that feels right.

      As for the seizing the moment picture, that is thanks to my friend Chris O’Neill. Be sure to check out his facebook page at Art of Chris. He has a lot of awesome pictures which I have relied on to convey my message.

      I agree with you. We should do our best to put in effort and prepare for an outcome, but at the same time we should not be too attached to our outcome. I have found that the universe works things out for the best when I put in the effort. It may not be exactly as I envisioned, but the result is always beneficial for me because I am an active participant.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  4. Irving,
    What comes to mind is how it takes so much grace to let go when things do not go our way! I think seeing the writing on the wall is incredibly important. But sometimes we kind of see, we kind of know, but we don’t let it sink in. We are just too attached to what we want. This only creates more resistance and suffering.

    As always, there is so much wisdom in this piece. I especially appreciated this: “Everything unfolds at its own time and place.” This principle is not well appreciated in the Western world where we imagine we can control everything with our goals, plans, and productivity efforts. But as you wisely point out, we can’t control everything with logic, there are too many permutations, we need to sometimes accept our helplessness in the face of events.

    I know I have really suffered when I’ve tried to fight against what is unfolding. I hope I have learned my lesson well!
    Sandra Lee recently posted..Free Yourself with Free WritingMy Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      There is much wisdom in your comments so I am sure you have learned your lessons well. :)

      Acceptance is not easy, but it is necessary to get through life. One way of accepting events would be to do all we can about it and then let go. It always amazes me after I have been alert, put in effort and done all I could, events always turn out well for me. It may not always be as I envisioned it, but it is always beneficial for me in the long run. As I mentioned, it is all part of the larger process. Knowing when to advance and press forth and when to retreat or hold back is the key to managing life well.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  5. i like the topic of the post, i did the mistake of putting all eggs in one basket long ago, thankfully i learned the lesson

  6. I’m reminded of the Wallace Wattles quote, “To think according to appearance is easy; to think truth regardless of appearances is laborious, and requires the expenditure of more power than any other work man is called upon to perform.”

    It’s essential to know our outcome, but we have to be prepared to change plans accordingly in order to get there. We have to be aware of the risks of each part, and to change accordingly. Pay attention early to see if there are warning signs ahead, and find a way to keep going.

    Thanks, Irving. Have a great day! Thanks for your reminders.
    Bryan Thompson recently posted..Are You a Social BananaMy Profile

    • Hi Bryan,

      That is a lovely quote by Wallace Wattles. It is true, it is more difficult to see things as they are.

      It is good to see that you have a proper understanding of how to manage events. Things should turn out as you plan as long as you stick to the fundamentals.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  7. What a great post and message. We really do have to be careful with how we characterize things in our mind and realize that what at first glance may seem like failure, really could be an important lesson and disguised progress. I think having the right perspective is so important and really appreciated what you said about our ability to control our reactions to events even though we can’t control the events. Great post.
    Sibyl – alternaview recently posted..Why You Should Take Chances to Make Things HappenMy Profile

    • Hi Sibyl,

      I am glad you enjoyed my article. By being aware of the way we perceive events while doing what we can to manage them, we will be better able to manage unfavourable outcomes as they happen.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  8. I used to worry and would therefore like to make plans or long lists of to-do. Then over the years, I found out that not everything would fall in place. In fact, few of the items on my lists do. I soon realized that I was employing too much of the left-brained stuff without giving a chance for more right-brained intuition or inspiration.

    Nowadays, I choose to have more broad intentions to give me an overall sense of direction. I also allow myself to be guided by my intuitive higher self. Like you, I found that divinations provide wise answers that our conscious mind cannot ordinarily grasp.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Inner Alchemy Through Life LessonsMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Things rarely go as planned. I agree with you that having broad intentions and some kind of flexible plan is the best way to deal with any situation. As long as we know how to go with the flow of the times, things will work out for the best.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  9. OMG, Irving, there is so much amazing info here in this one post that with just a little elaboration, it could be a complete book! In fact, I found myself wanting to make so many comments, they could probably be a book too!

    So! I’ll keep this one short and sweet and just say thank-you this time. This space is a treasure chest and you are the treasure. I am so glad I found you!
    Patti Foy recently posted..The Final Word on Ophiuchus and Astrology SignsMy Profile

    • Hi Patti,

      I am glad you enjoyed my post. I realize you know so much more than you have revealed. I know that in the future, if I have any queries or difficulties which I cannot handle in this area, I can count on your wisdom and guidance to illuminate my way.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  10. Hi Irving! This post is jam-packed of great points. Wise words: “Everything unfolds at its own time and place.” When we trust the perfect timing of things, there is no stress of how we’d like things to unfold. I also love the idea you presented of focusing on the solution instead of the problem. When we move towards the solution we’ re no longer aligned with the problem and allows the solution to come forth. Things always go our way when we’re open to see the blessings in very outcome. :)
    Thanks for this beautiful reminder. Loving blessings!
    Andrea DeBell – britetalk recently posted..No Worries About the Future- The Secret of Effortless LivingMy Profile

    • Hi Andrea,

      Thank you so much for your compliments!

      As much as I would like to speed things up, I know I can’t. All I can do is to make sure that things proceed as smoothly as possible and to lay all the steps needed. This is all we can do as humans.

      You make a great point. “Things always go our way when we’re open to see the blessings in every outcome.” Things do not always go as we envision it to be, but as long as we align ourselves with the universe, they always work out for the best in the end.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  11. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennifer Barry. Jennifer Barry said: How to Manage Unfavourable Outcomes http://j.mp/iaJM5S via @The_Vizier [...]

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