Whenever we make a decision, we tend to focus on the positive aspect of it and completely ignore the negative.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Why wouldn’t we focus on the good part of it? The whole reason it’s enjoyable is because of that aspect of it. Without it we wouldn’t even want to pursue it.
While you only think of the orgasm though, you forget that there’s a baby in the making. While your head is up in the clouds dreaming about that feel good climax, you don’t realize you are setting yourself up for years of sexless diaper changing, kid screaming, sweatpant wife-wearing madness.
If that seemed like a completely over-exagerrated point, it was. I want to scare you, to make you realize that decisions you make can cause mayhem in your life, even if you think they are good ones. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and you are well on your way.
Don’t worry though. Take consolation in the fact that at least one percent of the time, you just couldn’t have been sure that something bad was going to happen. The gods just decided to play a trick on you that day. Who knew that stepping on the sidewalk crack really did break your mother’s back?
This is the stuff that you just can’t account for. You can’t put it into your nice little notebook file listed under “con.”
It’s Mayhem, Chaos, and just plain ol’ Bad Luck. Sometimes we just get the shaft and there is nothing we can do about it.
We can’t really plan for Mayhem, we can only account for it. Realize that it’s there, waiting to strike and strike with all the fury of the gods. Ready to throw us into a tempest and leave us wondering what the hell just happened.
The only thing we can do is what the Stoics thought: Deal with it. Things that are beyond our control should not have a significant bearing on our disposition. There is nothing we can do about it, at least at that moment. We can try to learn from the experience, but sometimes the experience can’t be analyzed.
The next time you decide to set a goal, then, realize that Mayhem is there. Some goals just can’t be reached because of it. But don’t dwell on it. Sometimes you get sick just before the big game. Sometimes you get your cash stolen on the way to the store. Sometimes your dog really does eat your homework.
In any case, the important thing is to be able to distinguish between something you could have done better, and true Mayhem. The distinction is not whether you could have done something differently, it’s whether or not you genuinely knew or should have known to do it differently.