We all plan out our lives, whether it is the routine we use at work, getting the kids to bed and then up again for school, or what we will do on vacation, we all have a plan. What happens when that plan doesn’t work, or something happens that means those plans need to be changed? Do you get stressed or just “go with the flow?”
There are times when no matter how well you have activities planned, something will happen that throws a wrench into the pot — it can be job loss, car problems, an accident, a fire, natural disaster, or someone made a mistake.
In dealing with problems I have noticed there are those who get stressed, angered, frustrated, and do not cope well. There are others that may feel frustrated but seem to be more flexible, adapt where necessary, and continue on without experiencing much stress.
Why is it people are so diverse on how they cope with problems that arise in their life? Is it learned from when they were children observing their parents? Is it their natural personality? Is it something that happened in their lifetime that impacted their manner of handling stress?
In my opinion, it is all of these combined together to create a personality and coping ability that is unique to each person. A person’s everyday lifestyle, economic level, personal experiences, and childhood combine together and impact how each person will handle different challenges as they occur. The same challenge may be handled with ease by one person, but create immense stress in another. There is no right or wrong, it simply is.
A person who has always lived a financially strong life will likely find it difficult to handle a sudden loss of income that leaves them unable to purchase everything they need, much less want but don’t need. A person who grew up in a low income family or has spent the majority of their adult life with financial struggles would also find loss of income difficult, but they are more prepared mentally and emotionally to handle dealing with meager funds.
Someone who grew up in an environment where every minor problem was over-exaggerated into a major catastrophe will likely not have the coping mechanisms of someone who grew up in an “accidents will happen” and “life goes on” mindset. The first would teach you to always be on edge and the person will likely “fly off the handle” at bumps in the road, while the second is more likely roll with whatever life throws at them. While there is not a right or wrong personality, it is likely that the person with better coping mechanisms will have a less stressful life.
What about someone who has encountered war, been in a horrible accident, experienced death of a loved one, or been assaulted? There are uncountable incidents that could happen to a person which may have a profound effect on their way of thinking, what they fear, what angers them and how they react to various events. Those lifetime encounters impact their way of thinking, how they plan their life and how flexible they are.
Whatever your personality type and how well you cope with upsets to your daily or lifetime plans, keep in mind that the more flexible you are, the happier you will likely be. Stress is normal in life, and there will be times when the best laid plans are disrupted. Allowing those disruptions to create undue stress can make you more irritable and does nothing to resolve the problem. Stay calm, focus on the solution, and make adjustments where needed. Remember, flexibility does not always, but can, result in something better than you originally planned.