Life has a way of throwing curve balls. Even when it seems you have your best-laid plans in place, things can change in the blink of an eye.
This very phenomenon can be illustrated by a game of golf. There is a golf course in Africa where a phrase has been posted, “Play the Ball Where the Monkey Throws It.” This may seem like an odd instruction, but there is a good reason for it. You see, on this golf course, there are wild monkeys that are curiously intrigued by the small white golf balls they see landing in various areas of the golf course. Drawn to them, they not only collect the balls but toss them onto other areas of the golf course or even off the course entirely. After trying every means available to them, the golf course managers realized they had built the course in the territory of the monkeys and that they were fighting a losing battle trying to change the behavior of the monkeys. The golfers would simply have to adapt to the conditions.
Life is much like this. Often we can make every effort possible to make a plan work as we have hoped, but sometimes there are factors or circumstances at play that we just cannot anticipate or change. At that moment, it's time to change our approach and perhaps our position on the course. We can choose to be frustrated about unexpected circumstances or we can view the situation as an opportunity for learning, growth and connection with others.
Often our greatest suffering comes from not accepting the present reality. The more we resist the harder it is for us to adapt and think of creative solutions. We are left holding on to wishing we could change what is when we should be our effort into coming up with new solutions.
Here are just a few tips to help when that monkey gets on the golf course.
- Believe things will work out. Your optimism and ability to believe that things will work out turn your brain into a factory of solutions instead of only seeing dead ends. Your mind wants to help. Give it the encouragement it needs to help solve problems.
- Trust that you will be ok. Relying on yourself is a powerful way to begin the creative process of making decisions to take your next best step.
- Pause before you act. When facing the unexpected, ask yourself one question. What is my next best move? Taking this time to thoughtfully pause and consider can help you make the best game plan for moving forward. Hasty and rash decisions often lead to less-than-ideal solutions.
When life throws you a curve ball, don't let those monkeys derail your plans. With just a few creative solutions and ideas you can keep moving forward.