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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

How to Survive When Bad Things Happen to You

Recently the pipe under the bath upstairs burst. There was no-one home for a few days so of course the water built up into quite a little swimming pool in the upstairs bathroom.

Now, although I did not pursue physics as a career, it is easy for me to see that there was nowhere for this water to go but 'down'. So down it went. Right through the ceiling of the kitchen below. Which also went down, onto the floor.

To cut a long story short, what was once the floor went through the ceiling, which is now lying on the floor below. And the whole thing is one big swimming pool with its own little water feature.

This is just one example. When I say 'Bad things', I don't really mean bereavements or muggings or actual physical pain etc. But just those natural bad things which happen from time to time.

Things get broken, things go missing, things get taken etc etc etc.

The trouble is, no-one ever thinks it is going to happen to them. We all hear about the things which go wrong to other people, but we never, ever think that it could be us.

Did you hear about the poor chap who put all of his money (£80,000) in a bag and put it on the roof of his car and drove away? Or the woman who actually would have won the lottery jackpot if she had not lost the ticket? These things happen all the time to people who are just like us.

How to Survive Physically?

The way to survive these things happening is with some forward planning. Luckily, we are insured, so hopefully it will get sorted. This is the whole point.

It is extremely foolish to think that everyone else is plagued by this sort of bad luck and that we are some sort of lucky superpeople who live where nothing ever goes wrong.

The way we can survive physically is to have a back up plan to cover as much as possible.

  • Have insurance to cover your most precious belongings.
  • Have a duplicate key in case one is mislaid or lost or broken. Once it is cut, keep it in a place where it can be easily found.
  • Keep important documents in a filing cabinet or folder. If you do have insurance, you need to be able to find the phone number.
  • Keep important phone numbers up to date and in an easy place.

  • I'm sure there are hundreds more day to day things that we can do to make sure that when something unfortunate happens, there is a minimal amount of fuss. Make a list of five things that could be done today to help you survive.

    How to Survive Mentally

    It happened. It happens. There is no point even wasting a second on thinking 'Why me?' or feeling sorry or guilty or bad.

    The other thing there is no point in doing is looking for the person to blame. It is when we are not prepared that we look around for people to blame and to try to sue or feel bad so that we can feel good.

    There is no magic 'unwind time' feature associated with pouring our anger over someone else when the bad stuff happens.

    Readers who are familiar with self-help books will know what is coming next. I'm gonna say it. Get ready!

    Positive mental attitude. Sorry, it had to be done. Trying to cultivate a positive attitude throughout life does a lot to help us to cope with a lot of different situations. After a few minutes of 'omg!' the next thing to do is act to sort it out.

    Now I'm thinking "I'm inconvenienced", but my family and friends came to my help. And after all: new bathroom floor, new kitchen ceiling, new tiles. Oh well. I could get those cute little round ceiling lights...

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