“We can’t have a crisis tomorrow. My schedule is already full.” – Henry Kissinger
Looking for a bump-free day? So am I. But I shouldn’t be.
A more realistic life-view would accede to the “Theory of Six Bumps,” which states simply: each day will surprise us with six bumps, that is, moments that we fail to anticipate, but must deal with nonetheless. The dog gets sick and does her business on the carpet (bump #1) . . . a friend desperately needs a ride to drop off his car (bump #2) . . . on our way to the office, we realize that we forgot one critical piece for the afternoon meeting (bump #3).
Bumps, of course, come in all shapes and sizes (misplaced keys, traffic at a standstill), and if we’re lucky, most bumps will be mild in nature. Certain ones may consume our lives for a stretch (e.g., sickness and weather-related tragedies), but the true casualty is our dream for a bump-free day. It may be time to revise that dream. Instead of anticipating a day free of mishaps (hope springs eternal), embrace the notion that, every day, you’ll encounter six bumps (some more demanding than others). Rest assured, they’re coming.
Some time ago I shared the Theory of Six Bumps with my sister, and less than 48 hours later she called and reported, “Well, I’ve already had my six bumps today.” It was 10:30 in the morning (ouch!) and, as best I can recall, the bumps involved a parking ticket, a broken coffee pot and a computer glitch – not an ideal morning! I immediately thought to myself, then shared with my sister: “Well, it looks like you’re clear for the rest of the day.” She laughed, then recounted the frustrating details of her morning.
I often give voice to my bumps. Rushing to a morning meeting, I spot a traffic jam up ahead. Inside I’m thinking: “Bump #1”. Hours later, on the checkout line, I discover that I don’t have my credit card (bump #2) because I gave it to my daughter (an altogether different kind of bump). Once home, I realize that I’ve neglected to shut off the outside water valve and discover that the water line has burst (bump #3, and a sizable one at that).
Of late, one particular bump stands out: it’s Saturday morning, around 9:30am, when my wife hears a strange noise emanating from the air vent. Within minutes we realize what’s happened: an animal is trapped in the duct system. As my frustration begins to mount, that this Saturday is about to disappear, I smiled to myself and said aloud: “Ah, bump #1.” Six hours later the problem was resolved (I call this a “multi-hour bump”). And while frustration was still a part of my profile, the recognition helped immensely.
Might a bump-free day lie in your future? Don’t count on it. Instead, just sit back and relax – and count ‘em if you wish. But know this – the bumps will arrive again tomorrow . . . and the day after that.
Embrace ’em. It’ll make life a heckuva lot easier.