I think its interesting that, in the moment, we can handle just about anything. We all somehow inherently know how to handle a situation when we are thrown right into it. Its the thinking about it that tends to throw us off. We tend to be afraid of what could happen. We play the “what if” game. If someone fell unconscious in front of you at the store, you would react accordingly whether that be calling 9-1-1 or knowing the appropriate steps to take while directing someone else to call for an ambulance. However, if you walked in to a classroom to take a CPR test, chances are you would have been studying and thinking about what you would do in this situation for a while. You may flail for the right words to use when describing your answer or, you may forget your answer altogether. This isn’t to say that everyone would forget this, but I think we have all had the awkward moment where we know we know the answer, but our brains just can’t tell us what it is after we’ve been thinking about it all day. Why? Because we worry. We think about what could happen if it doesn’t go how we planned it. We wonder if our professors are going to phrase a question differently than the way we imagined it. We try to form plans for every possible scenario rather than just letting the moment happen.
Earlier this week, I knew I would be having an in-depth interview with an employer to decide which position I would be taking this summer. I had an idea of which one I wanted and I had to force myself to do anything but prepare for my interview. Why? Because the last time I prepared answers for interview questions I rehearsed them so many times and thought about it so much that I psyched myself out. My fear of what that interview might have held completely threw me off and I blanked. I had prepared a list of every possible interview question that I could think of and how I would answer them, but when the employer started asking me questions about myself – questions about my own personality- I couldn’t answer them without stuttering. I had prepared so heavily for the “what if” that I forgot everything I knew about myself.
This week, when I had my interview, she asked me about my personality as well as how I would handle certain situations. There weren’t any questions that I felt unprepared to answer and I didn’t blank on anything because I hadn’t prepared anything to blank on. When I prepared to handle the interview in the moment rather than preparing for everything that I thought might happen – and clearly leaving many possibilities out – I did so much better.
I guess my point is that, in the moment, you can handle anything. We can never prepare for every possible scenario and, while I will agree that there are some things we need to prepare for to some extent, there are so many unknowns in life and they’re there for a reason. Maybe, rather than preparing for scenarios, we need to start preparing ourselves to be content in handling things in the moment. So, remember, we can handle anything life throws at us in the moment. It’s the fear of what might happen that really gets us.


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