There are times in life when we are thrown a curve-ball.

When something happens that we don’t expect.

As I’ve observed people over the years, I’ve seen three categories of people and how they respond to surprises tells us a lot about them.

Surprised by good things. Some people receive good surprises and find it difficult to believe it could be happening to them.  It’s a bit like George Costanza from Seinfeld.

They receive a compliment and try to downplay it, or are suspicious of the person who gave it.

They receive an unexpected opportunity at work and wait for it to fail.

Good things come to these people, but they soon slip through their fingers and become a fleeting memory.

Surprised by bad things.  People in this category receive bad surprises and get overly dramatic.

It’s as if they didn’t expect it to happen.

As if they expect to go through life without disappointment, without people saying hurtful things.

As if they have a bizarre entitlement to navigate through life unscathed and act like victims when things don’t go according to script.

Bad things happen to these people and the effects linger longer then they need to.

Barely surprised at all.  Then there are those who understand that good things and bad things sometimes happen unexpectedly.

When someone takes them unawares with a compliment or they catch a good break at work, they are grateful and allow themselves to enjoy the moment.

When something bad inevitably happens, they’re not completely perplexed, but understand that life doesn’t always do according to plan and move quickly into solutions mode rather than remaining a victim for long.  They understand that people will let you down, say insensitive things or don’t meet our expectations and instead of acting in bewilderment or mock betrayal, they are quick to forgive and find a way to make the relationship work.

They’re seemingly unflappable, perhaps wise, certainly pragmatic.

At some stage in the next week, something will happen that has the potential to surprise you.

Will you respond resourcefully or be overwhelmed by the moment?

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