Expecting the Unexpected

An empty Johari window, with the "rooms&q...
The Johari Window

I am not sure if anyone can really predict how they would  react when something unexpected happens.

The other day a friend of mine driving her daughter to daycare was forced to direct her attention to the unexpected. Her car had been idling on an intersection waiting for the chance to turn a corner when a resounding thud to the rear of her car suddenly threw a wrench into her carefully planned day. A woman had run into her and now she would have to stop her day to deal with the accident.

My friend would have been justified to be upset. And in fact she was quite upset. It was the middle of winter in Mid West and she had to pull over and exchange insurance information in the wintry morning. She would have to figure out how to fix her car, call her insurance; all things she hadn’t planned to do that morning. She surprised me though when she told me that upon conclusion of exchanging information with the other woman, she noticed how shaken up the woman was. According to my friend, the woman started crying as she headed to her car. My friend called her back and gave her a hug.

Mystified I asked her why she did it. My friend said she didn’t feel it was necessary to abandon compassion just because she had been wronged. The look of devastation and the obvious impact of having to compensate someone for an accident was probably an event that would throw the other woman’s life out of sync. My friend said she just gave her a hug because she felt connected to the woman in her pain.


Your  Subconscious

At any given moment, life can throw us an unexpected curve ball. How we prepare ourselves by our thinking patterns, thoughts, and actions will prepare us for the unexpected when it comes.  A professor I Know talked about a theory called the Johari Window. I tried it out with my husband found out interesting things about myself, which is probably why I will put off trying it out with my friends.  The Johari Window developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is a journey of self exploration consisting of windows representing how you view yourself, how others view you and a mystery window containing things only contained in your subconscious. The mystery window contains adjectives hidden in the deep recesses of our minds. It is the  unpredictable reactions to unexpected events. When something unexpected happens, or when we are faced with unexpected decisions we react from our subconscious. If you expose yourself to activities and reflections that help nature your thinking and thought patterns, you are likely to react positively when the unexpected happens. This was the case with my friend. An unexpected event happened (woman crying after running into her) and her subconscious reacted by setting aside all the obvious inconveniences caused by the accident by giving the stranger a hug.

I couldn’t help but wonder what my reaction would have been were I in the same situation as my friend.  Faced with the unexpected, my reactions haven’t always been positive. I however would like to think that I have been growing as a person due to immersion in positive thinking, actions, literature, and company.

Which of course begs the question:

‘ Who are you when faced with the unexpected?’


2 thoughts on “Expecting the Unexpected

  1. I really enjoyed this story. I like to think of myself as kind and empathetic, but it’s interesting wondering what I might be like under pressure and in a trying situations. In all honesty, I’m introverted and reserved, so I would notice the other person was upset and feel bad all day, walk back to my car, and spend the day or my lifetime wishing I’d have shown more care and concern. Thanks so much for this post – from now on, I’m going to try and more more of an effort to show kindness, rather than just empathize and think about it.

    1. Thanks you for your comment Erin.
      I too had to pause and think when my friend told me this story. I am more emotional in my reactions so I honestly couldn’t say how I would have reacted. Probably the opposite. I hope that when the unexpected happens, I turn out to be as good a person as my friend.
      Have a great day.

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