There are times when the behavior we are confronted with surprises us.
Leaders experience this all the time. And often they find it disconcerting. Whatever they expected is not happening as they planned for it. Sometimes the surprise is one they like, and they will take it as their luck. Sometimes, however, it isn’t what they looked for. In those situations, blame and frustration may appear.
However, the reason they find it disconcerting is that it doesn’t match their plan and provides them with an indication that they are not in control. It is a situation they experience as unpredictable.
A source of unpredictability is the desire to believe in a world that matches what they can think and what they want. That’s how plans are established and often how trust is relied upon.
Thinking something else, thinking beyond this belief easily leads into unchartered territory, into a space where beliefs and assumptions would appear as what they are: beliefs and assumptions. The unpredictable would become part of one’s reality and the possibility that surprises could happen would become real. It’s a space in which the desire to feel in control will reappear.
Maybe it’s become apparent then, that this desire to feel in control is linked to the outcome.
Planning serves an outcome, and the thinking done for such a context serves the ability to reach the desired outcome. It also requires trusting that the plan can happen. A way to do so is to leave everything else in the dark, in the unthinkable.
In a way, this is how surprises are created. They emerge from the desire to control the outcome.
The desire to control one’s responses to a situation leads to a different path. One where we prepare for surprises by imagining what they could be, by imagining a world that doesn’t correspond to our central desire and belief that we can achieve the outcome we plan for.
It brings an interesting shift. The ability to respond reduces the need for a world that is shaped according to our desires. It gives a different sense of control.