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What to do when things do not go as planned...

Popularity 6Viewed 13185 times 2013-8-30 21:29 |System category:Life| unexpected, life, death, grief

"Expect the unexpected."

That rather odd quote (how can you expect something if it is unexpected?) contains a great deal of wisdom. Make sure that your plans are flexible, and plan for problems even if you do not know what the problems are. Allow yourself extra time to do something.

This applies to plans to learn a language as much as to anything else. This blog entry is about what to do when you fall behind in your plan for whatever reason.

There are three main things that can happen to make you fall behind in your plan to do something:
  1. Your timeline was too aggressive
  2. You have lost interest or motivation
  3. Something else happened that took your time for whatever reason.
I am sure someone can come up with other reasons, but these are the three that came to mind for me.

Reason number 2 is the simplest. For whatever reason, you have no motivation to continue your efforts toward your goal. In that case you should reconsider if it is still worth it to you to continue.

Numbers 1 and 3 have essentially the same solution: re-work your timeline. Don't give up. You need to figure out if you've lost ground somehow and determine where you are in your plan so you can restart from where you are. Recognize that things outside of your control happen. The phrase "outside of your control" is important for people dealing with reason #3. Also understand that you cannot change the past. If your reason #3 was a decision that you made to spend your time otherwise, then regardless of how you feel about that decision you need to recognize that it is in the past. You cannot change what has already happened. All you can do is decide how you are going to spend your time and effort NOW and then do it.

Rework your timeline and do not be too hard on yourself. 5 years from now it most likely will not matter if it took you 1 year or 2 years to do whatever it is you are trying to do. The goal is to finish it, whatever it is.

My older brother was found dead on his kitchen floor on August 1, 2013, at about 6PM. He was not sick, so this was quite a shock and completely unexpected. He was only 51 (three years older than I am). This loss has caused a great deal of stress in my life, and it has interfered with my ability to study and do other things. I am still recovering.

Grieving is natural and necessary in a case like this. I will never completely be over this, because he was my brother and my friend, but I need to resume my life as much as I can. He was always proud of my academic accomplishments, and I want to continue to be the person I was before he died.

If your timeline was too aggressive, this is a good chance to learn a little more about yourself and your priorities. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do what you need to do.

I know this is a very short entry, but I hope it will be of some help to someone who is struggling to reach a goal due to unexpected circumstances.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (5 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2013-8-31 10:26
Your blog has been recommended to the front page, thank you for contributing.
Reply Report KristaChen 2013-8-31 11:33
unexpected things happen all the time, what we have to do is to continually  adjust ourselves.
Reply Report querist 2013-9-1 09:16
KristaChen: unexpected things happen all the time, what we have to do is to continually  adjust ourselves.
Exactly, Krista. It is difficult, some times, even to focus on anything when dealing with grief such as my brother's unexpected death. However, it is important to continue living. As I said in my blog, my brother was always proud of my academic accomplishments. He always introduced me to friends as "my brother, the doctor".

I need to continue being the same person.
Reply Report 板栗年 2013-9-2 17:29
yes you are right
Reply Report Lamrath 2013-9-11 11:26
Every day is a new day the time never can't predict . happy every day

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Ph.D. in Computer Science (Security) and also a physician, I travel to China on business a few times each year. I am learning Mandarin (and some Cantonese because I travel to HK and GZ) and intend to take the HSK in 2015 (before I turn 50).


Recent comments

  • Just a short note 2014-5-10 10:24

    Vocabulary seems to be the hardest thing to learn. Chinese grammar is logical, but learning vocabulary (especially to read) is a challenge when I have few opportunities to speak the language. I really wish I could live in China for a while.

  • Just a short note 2014-4-2 12:16

    good luck to you.

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