Surprise me!

I’ve spent the last several years teetering back and forth on an issue.

Sometimes, we view someone or something as good or bad. We broadly categorize into those two extremes. We may add some adjectives to clarify or qualify; mostly bad, really good. In any case, I have struggled with the issue of when something from one of those extremes behaves out of character.

What happens, when something you categorize as good, does something bad; or vice versa? What if a situation you classify as terrible surprises you, just once, in a positive way?

Of course true absolutes are rare. Sometimes bad things can be good and sometimes good people are bad. However, I believe human nature, instinct if you will, is built around categorizing and making assumptions based on past experiences around good and bad results. It is part of what kept our ancestors safe throughout history—knowing what things are good and bad. They could make decisions, which were literally life or death, in an instant by knowing the absolute based on past experience or tradition.

I’m being vague for a reason.

We all know that good things can end up disappointing. It’s happened to all of us before. Ever held a delicious, crispy apple in your hand and bitten into it to find it mushy or grainy? Gross. It happens.

What I believe happens less, is when bad things surprise us in a positive way. The reason I believe this happens less is, being bad, it often isn’t given an opportunity—ever—to prove the opposite.

But what if it were…?

What if we were able to play forward every potential negative thing (person or situation) to see whether the outcome would be good or bad? Obviously it would be great to be able to predict the future, but I find the negative to positive aspect all the more fascinating because it’s almost never given a chance. I know I try to avoid it. Go with the good, you may end up with mediocre. Go with the bad, you MAY end up with mediocre, but you may end up dead.

I find this fascinating because something I had classified as bad, recently forced a turn of its nature on me. It wasn’t that I gave it the opportunity, the opportunity was just there. After I recovered from the shock it initially prompted, I embraced the opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a BAD situation. But for this one brief moment, in a very specific set of circumstances, a very bad thing turned good… just for a moment.