Observe. Orient. Act. How to deal with the Unexpected in Life

Amber Pawlik

One thing that I have found helps me get through the day with a mostly peaceful demeanor and serene state of mind is to always give whatever challenge is in front of me the proper time and resources it needs.

I believe not giving the proper time and resources to the challenges in life, expected or unexpected, is one reason why people become irritated. For instance, let’s say you are rushing out the door to go somewhere. As you are rushing, you accidentally spill something on your shirt. This is certain to draw an emotion of irritation in many people. Why? It is because you were expecting to get out the door in about 3 minutes, but now it is going to take you 3 minutes plus the time it takes to fix the spill on your shirt.

If instead of becoming irritated with the spill, you said to yourself, “Ok. I just spilled something on my shirt. It is going to take me 2 minutes to go upstairs and change my shirt. Then I can get out the door,” you instantly become calmer. You have evaluated the situation and determined you need X amount of time to fix it. When you allot yourself that time, you simply proceed forward along your determined path.

If such a situation is going to cause a negative consequence, perhaps being late to work, you next thought should be: what negative consequence will this cause and how can I fix it? If you are going to be late somewhere, a simple phone call may fix the situation.

The same applies at work. Often, I will have a task that I think is going to take say 2 days. However, some problems invariably rises which is going to make the task take longer. If I say to myself, “Ok, this problem arose and now my time is going to be dedicated to tackling this new task,” I simply and happily take on the new task.

Whenever I embark on a new task, especially at work, I try to estimate as perfectly as I can how long it will take. Many, perhaps out of ego, will boast that they can get something done quickly. I have found a good rule is to take how long you think something will take and then doubling that amount of time will get you closer to how long something will actually take you.

This simple principle gives you adaptability. It is summarized by the military phrase, “Observe; Orient; Act.” In a dog fight, a fighter pilot must be able to adapt to new situations and threats. Whenever a new threat confronts him, he first observes (evaluates) the new situation. He then orients himself to deal with the new threat. He is then in a position to act.

Observe. Orient. Act. This is a good guiding philosophy to deal with the unexpected in life!


September 5, 2010

Amber Pawlik

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