I dreaded them. They were unexpected and unnecessary — at least to me and most of my peers. The pop quiz.
They caught us off guard, disrupting the normal routine and creating anxiety and fear, inciting the collective stares of thirty irritated students.
What made the test so intimidating was the element of surprise. Even more nerve-wracking was I never felt prepared. But I knew I had to score well. What I didn’t realize at the time is the concept of a pop quiz wasn’t necessary to test my memory or determine if I’d done the assignment.
It was to prepare me for real life.
Life is Unpredictable
As it turns out, life is a series of unknowns and interruptions. In other words, surprises. And as hard as we try to organize schedules, appointments, vacations, school functions, family gatherings, and everything else that’s shouting for our attention, the unexpected will jump in our path and throw our best-laid plans out the window.
And whether we like it or not, we’re going to have to deal with it.
The truth is, we need a little disruption in our lives. Without it, we cease to learn and grow, and our existence becomes bland — nothing more than a continuous cycle of daily habits, boring routines, repeated activities, even unhealthy meals.
By accident or design, we’ve become a robotic confluence of form and function — often without purpose, intent, or direction.
Every once in awhile, though, our comfort zone needs to be poked.
Every Day is a Pop Quiz
We’re tested every day.
These unforeseen challenges can take the form of road construction detours, an alarm that didn’t go off, unexpected emergencies — both personal and professional. It could be a sick child or parent, loss of a job, or a really bad hair day.
And how we approach the situation determines our ability to evaluate a problem and come up with a best course of action — the best answer. So how can we prepare ourselves for these pop quizzes?
Without a study guide, the answers to our life tests can be elusive. But we can take a few steps to prepare and be ready when they appear.
Acknowledge That You’re Being Tested
For the most part, the negative situations or people that show up in your life will not have a personal agenda against you.
Unfortunately, many folks believe it’s easier to point the finger of fault at someone or something that’s causing their own internal dissatisfaction and frustration.
Try this: The next time you feel confronted with some form of adversity, take a mental step back and observe the situation from an objective viewpoint. Then really scrutinize whether your pessimistic knee-jerk reaction is appropriate before assigning misdirected blame.
In reality, the circumstances may have nothing to do with you. A better response may be to accept the issue or behaviour and choose to be neutral or patient enough to let it pass — and then move on.
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, it will not change you.” — Wayne Dyer
Speaking the Truth Gets Easier
Have you ever been asked to do a favour or attend an event you have no interest in? Do you then hold a grudge or berate others for putting you in a difficult position?
Guess what? The problem is yours — and it’s time to resolve it.
Being unwilling to speak your truth to others will return the same result every time: Frustration, annoyance, unhappiness. Be honest about your feelings and desires.
If you have a legitimate reason for not being available to lend a hand or accept an invitation, simply explain the circumstances. If it’s something you don’t want to do, be truthful and respectful in turning down the request.
“Speaking the truth gets a little easier each time you do it.” — Rory Freedman
Remain Open to Learning
Sometimes we’re provided with an opportunity to have a new experience or travel a new path.
Curiosity is a lost art, however, we can choose to reinstall this tool into our psyche and give ourselves permission to explore and examine other avenues of thought and purpose.
“Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence.” — Alistair Cooke
Ready? The test starts now!