We often give a positive connotation to predictability when we apply it to something we can count on, something that helps provide a sense of stability and security. We may also give it a less than favorable review when, for example, we use it to describe something or someone we think is too much the same too much of the time. So, how do we hold the quality of predictability when we think about it in light of our own behavior?

There is a saying that goes “if you do the same old things in the same old way you will get the same old results. “ Ironically, people are surprised when this occurs. Why, they ask, are things not changing for me? Why are they not more enlivened? When we ask this question of ourselves, do we not understand that predictable behavior and predictable thinking will get predictable results? If it is predictable results you want, then by all means continue behaving in a predictable way.

However, if something different is desired, then predictability will not work. What can allow something different to occur is doing the unexpected; unexpected, that is, for us. And, it rarely matters what is the unexpected thing we do, just so long as it is something not predictable for us, something that stretches the envelope of what we know, something that takes us outside our everyday comfort zone.

This unpredictable thing is different for everyone. It might be saying hello to the only other person in the elevator (when “normal” behavior is to recede into the corner, eyes downward. Or, It might be speaking up in a group, just to speak up, something unlike our usual pattern of silence. Or, it might be keeping silent and composed when our usual mode is excitability and being the first to speak.

There is something about doing the unpredictable thing that helps keep us new and alive and supports a changing of the guard from same old, same old to “who is this new person?

© Copyright - Peter D Axelrod