Self-Help

Get an Umbrella

When I first moved here, the weather was perfect. Bright blue, sunny skies filled most days. It did get cooler as the winter months came but that didn’t last long. By springtime, it got pretty hot, not what I was used to in April. Everything was fine at first, but things changed in the summer. When the humidity got worse, it revealed the less desirable part of living here. It was shocking to find out that it could storm every day. Where I was from, it never seemed to storm as often. It seems everywhere a person goes here they are at risk of being rained on. During trips to the grocery store, one could end up leaving in a downpour. At work every day, it was like clockwork, the sound of rain crashing on the roof above. Each time the work day neared its end, I rolled my eyes and hoped the rain would stop.

Even trips into a store, when there was no foreseeable chance of immediate rain, I’d walk out into rain blowing sideways. I remember thinking, what kind of place is this? Unwilling to move again, I figured I’d better adapt to it somehow. I could have complained about the weather every single day and how I got drenched unexpectedly by the rain. I could have blamed all kinds of things for the troubles that befall me.

Instead of following a trail to nowhere, I decided to prepare myself for these unforeseeable events. I went out and bought an umbrella. I know, rocket science, right? It worked like a clock. Everywhere I went, when the unexpected came, I was ready for it. Soon I grew weary of always carrying an umbrella though, so I multiplied my original effort and bought several more and left one in the house, the car, at work, and even in my gym bag. More prepared than ever, I became aware that being prepared is key to not getting rained on.

There are other things we know to be prepared for, yet don’t always do what we know we should. Job interviews are known to be particularly stressful because we are always fearful of what the interviewer will ask us. With the abundance of information available about the subject online, a person can formulate a sizable list of questions that might be asked. Knowing the answers ahead of time will make the interview better, certainly more than if you are found stumbling over your words trying to come up with something. This falls under the category of simple to do, but not easy because preparation takes effort. Similar to this is preparing for an exam. If we just studied ahead of time, put in the work up front, the odds would be much higher that we would do better when taking the test.

What other areas of life could improve just by being better prepared? Is someone or something being blamed for your troubles? I know when I am running late, I end up driving behind the slowest drivers on the road. When I try to safely navigate around them, I end up behind someone worse. “Come on!” are two words I have shouted more times than I care to count. Yet, something so simple could be solved by waking up ten minutes earlier. All the stress of minor traffic delays could be wiped out instantly because I’d have plenty of time to get there. But, as I said – simple, but not easy!

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