The Formula Fails

It’s remarkable how we predict future based on the past, when they are not as related as it may seem.

All right, if you smell smoke, do assume there’s a fire — but we extend that assumption to far too many things.

For example, a job search.  If you’ve been struggling long and hard to get employed — I’m sure you’ll go into each potential, each interview going “I’m sure this won’t work out.”

Why?  Just because the last one didn’t work out?  That last potential employer and this one aren’t probably conspiring — they probably don’t even know the other exists — so it is totally illogical to assume that this one won’t turn out.

A romantic relationship.  You said something honest but “wrong” with the last date and didn’t get called again — you start watching out for that phrase.  That’s a bad one, you say, and vow never to say that in front of your love interest.  And you just thickened your wall around you, making it harder for anyone to truly connect with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t learn from past mistakes or don’t make plans based on what happened in the past.  I’m just saying, don’t over-rely on it.  Future is a wide open book.  Anything can happen.  Your estranged mother may come for a surprise visit.  You may find that ring you lost last summer.  You may find your dream job.  You may find a dream spouse.  There is so much, that can happen.

Don’t kill all those possibilities by going in with an assumption.

Last year, I was on a job hunt.  And it took me over 9 months to find one.  Well, part of the difficulty was that I was trying to land a job in a remote city, while still being fully employed.  But after a while, I started feeling gloomy about my prospects.  I kept tweaking my resumes.  I read up on tips about how to write a god one.

But then, there came a point, where I looked at my cover letter and said “yes, this is me.  I love it.  If they don’t get it, their loss.”   And just stuck to it.  I stopped assuming that because the cover letter/resume didn’t work for the last prospect, that it wouldn’t work for the next one.  I just found an approach I believed in, and kept my faith.

When the going got tough, I wrote this line on the board:

“What didn’t happen yesterday, can still happen today.”

I’m sure you can guess that there was a happy ending to that story.  I have a great employer now.

Get rid of your false belief that you know what’s going to happen.  You don’t. And sure, the same thing or something worse can happen — but so can something unexpectedly great. Hope for it.  Be open to it.  Anything can happen — and that includes something amazing, and more importantly — something better than yesterday.

And be glad that you don’t know your future.

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