Euripides once said that “what is thought possible does not happen and what no one expects God gives”. Unexpected events are the ones that really change our lives, however leaving room for these unexpected events that are beyond our control requires first of all a receptive heart and an open mind. Only in this way can we grasp the wonderful opportunities with which to “move forward”.
Sociologists or financial experts like Nassim Nicholas Taleb believe that we all act as if we can predict what will happen tomorrow or even next week. Our placid ignorance or, rather, our exaggerated need to think that we have everything under control often makes us unable to react when, suddenly, something unexpected happens to us.
This primary behavior or need responds to a very simple principle: our brain needs to feel that it has everything under control. It doesn’t matter if we are not happy, the important thing is to “survive”. Everything that falls within the boundaries of the unexpected or the unexpected, therefore, is interpreted as a threat, a battalion carrying a flag, that of danger.
It must be said that people who have more fears, who hide more insecurities and emptiness usually develop a greater need for control over themselves and others. Control freaks, those who claim to dominate the uncontrollable and leave not even a corner to unexpected and improvised things, are hopelessly doomed to the abyss of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Learning from children, great lovers of unexpected surprises
Just showing something unexpected to a child to grab their attention. He has a fascinated look when he sees something different, something colorful, that defies logic and gravity.
Children have a natural and instinctive ability to embrace all that is unpredictable and unexpected. However, we, with our adult glasses and our rational filters, have lost this wonderful ability that stimulates learning so much.
As a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University by psychologist Aimée Stahl reveals, children between the ages of 9 and 11 months prefer all those stimuli that apparently escape logic. The psychologist conducted a curious experiment on a group of infants who presented two types of toys, one that seemed to go through the wall (thanks to an optical effect) and another that simply rolled against them and then fell to the ground.
Strange as it may seem, infants were more interested in the “impossible” game, the one that gave the idea of crossing the wall. Experts have come to the conclusion that younger children are more involved in unexpected things. However, as one grows up, the unexpected is interpreted as something that is beyond one’s control and which, therefore, is dangerous.
Make room for the unexpected in your life
Do it, leave the door of your heart ajar so as to let in, from time to time, a bit of panache, of joy, because it certainly won’t hurt you. Carve out a corner for unexpected things, for improvised, unscheduled things, far, far away, from your goals. Because the realm of the unexpected may be more useful than we think, in fact great explorers have discovered entire continents by accident and many famous people have made their best contributions under the influence of serendipity.
For example, maybe the job we have now is not very satisfying, but it has given us new friendships which, in turn, have pushed us to cultivate a hobby that we like very much, which enriches us emotionally and intellectually to the point of wanting to develop it even from a professional point of view. We do this, and once business gets underway, we also meet the love of our life.
As you can see, one thing can lead to another, we jump from stone to stone in this relentless river of our existence and we do it almost without realizing it. However, to appreciate the beauty and opportunities that are offered to us, we must show ourselves receptive to this wonderful spell of fate. And we must do it with a positive attitude and an open mind, because those who wait for the unexpected with the right predisposition have a better chance of being happy.