Enlightened Conflict

the most when least expected

July 19th, 2014

expectations reality diagram


“Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.”

Jodi Picoult


“After all, our lives are but a sequence of accidents – a clanking chain of chance events. A string of choices, casual or deliberate, which add up to that one big calamity we call life.”

Rohinton Mistry





So I tend to believe we measure ourselves by what we expect of ourselves when … well … we have expectations of ourselves.





expect seldom occursIf this big ‘calamity we call Life’ is simply a sequence of accidents … a chain of chance events … maybe we should be measuring ourselves by what we are capable of when we least expect it.
Most of us are capable of a shitload.


And most of us give ourselves a shitload of criticism for not meeting expectations when we expect to do something. And, yet, most of life is a shitload of unexpected things.


It would be nice if Life acted upon the same principle as the programming technology industry … the principle of least astonishment.


In other words … if some key technology feature has a high astonishment factor <the surprise factor> they immediately conclude it may be necessary to redesign the feature. The design should match the user’s experience, expectations, and mental models <in other words … surprises are bad>.



expect most all



Unfortunately Life doesn’t work that way.


And neither do we.
Life astonishes us on a fairly consistent basis … and we astonish ourselves on a far equal amount of the time.
Least expected typically refers to something that is the least likely <or most unlikely> to happen.



And yet what we do, what we are capable of, in these least expected moments … are actually the least unexpected.



Because least unexpected refers to something that is the least unlikely <or most likely> to happen.


In our heads, and often in our words, unlikely or unexpected get jumbled up with least likely and least expected and in all the jumbledness the result ends up least unexpected.

<don’t worry … my head started getting confused & hurting when I wrote that>


see what we look forJust to be silly … I would suggest that all the misuses are not in the least unexpected.


Just to be not silly … I would suggest that what we are capable of when we least expect it is typically pretty frickin’ amazing.




In the unplanned calamity of Life we make choices … and in a least unexpected way we do pretty fucking well.
Remember this:


“Adventures do occur, but not punctually.”

E.M. Forster


Life is not punctual.


Nor is Life planned ahead of time.


Life is often one big calamity.


The only thing we can expect of Life is the unexpected.



The least unexpected thing?


What we are capable of … and who we are is not just defined but what we do <in general> but rather what we do in the unexpected calamity of Life. The create you are whatchoices we make in the unexpected chain of moments that make up most of Life.



Any idiot can ‘do’ in the expected moments.


The measure of a person is truly found in what you do in the unexpected moments.


Enlightened Conflict