It was a common occurrence at the office I worked at to not talk about difficult things.
If there was an elephant in the room, you were just supposed to let the damn thing be.
If the emperor walked in naked, no way were you supposed to let anyone know.
Just act natural. Play it cool. Pretend it wasn’t going on.
In fact, whenever I’d plan for possible bumps in the road, unexpected contingencies that could crop up should everything not go accordingly to plan, I would frequently be shushed by coworkers.
“Don’t say that. You’re going to jinx it.”
For my part, I noticed zero correlation between what I noted could go wrong and what actually did. There was no self-fulfilling prophecy at work here. No damning myself.
I couldn’t plan for every contingency of course (some were unforeseen and arguably unforeseeable, at least with the information I had at the time). But I was generally the best prepared when things did go pear shaped. And my department ran very smoothly as a result.
But I had to be very careful about how much of my planning I would talk about with others aloud (especially those in other departments). Because they were superstititous and thought my planning was pessimistic. Planning to fail.
Planning Not Just as Preparation But Also Practice
It probably comes as little surprise that I’m like this in my personal life, too. I have lots of contingency plans should things go off the rails.
It’s not that I expect them to, you see. It’s just that it gives me peace of mind knowing that I could handle a crisis should one emerge.
I feel at ease with even the unplanned crises these days (more or less; everyone has things that shake them to their core; for me as of late, this has been a dying relative). The ones I don’t have plans for. The ones that I won’t foresee (and will be arguably unforeseeable with what information I will have at the time).
Because the planning has been a kind of practice. One that’s led me to understand and fully internalize that I can figure out what to do in whatever situation I land in, even if when the time comes I feel like I’m alphabetizing books in the middle of a hurricane.
Are you superstitious? Are you scared to talk about certain things? Do you believe it always risks self-fulfilling prophecy?
Books by Page Turner: