Is it Really an Emergency? 5 Reasons Not to Panic

 

We worry about too many things.

We panic too often. And, we let too many things scare us.

Many of these things never happen.

Or they turn out to be not as bad as we imagined.

Truth be told, there are very few true emergencies in life.

It is important to be able to keep your bearings in the face of urgent and perceived emergencies.

It’s an Emergency!

How you ever found yourself saying, “I can’t right now, I am dealing with an emergency.”

What was it? Was it really an emergency?

Or was it something that appeared urgent?

Urgent issues interrupt our day. They often derail our priorities.

Sometimes they are other people’s fire drills. Sometimes, they are our own.

But, what is an emergency?

emergency – “a serious, unexpected, an often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

In our urgent, must have it now society, we mistake many things for emergencies.

So, how do you tell if that latest urgent matter is worth having a panic attack over?

A good personal thumb rule, is to ask yourself whether or not it involves physical harm to people. (Notice the word “dangerous” in the above definition.)

Lots of other things can be replaced. Money. Property. Other items.

People cannot be replaced.

So, is your emergency actually dangerous?

Or are you stressing about something that is much less serious?

Don’t Panic, It’s Not Worth It

If you let ever little bit of drama get you excited, then you are going to live your life like a pinball constantly ricocheting from one urgency to the next.

This is a very stressful way to live. And not very fun, either.

Instead, let’s try to keep some perspective on what is truly an emergency.

Here are 5 Reasons Why it is Not Worth Panicking in the Face of that Emergency:

  1. 99% of the Things We Worry About Never Happen – If everything that people worried about came to be, the planet would no longer be here. The truth is that the majority of things that we worry about never come to pass. Don’t wear yourself out worrying about what “might” happen. Instead focus your attention on the things that you can affect. Often, this means looking at ourselves (the only thing we can control) and not worrying so much about others (those that we cannot control).
  2. Very Few Decisions Are Permanent – Many of us fear the decisions that we make. We become paralyzed with fear that we may make a bad choice. Or choose a road that we cannot get back from. However, there are very few decisions in life that you cannot change at a later time. Even career and job choices are not permanent.
  3. You Have to Take Some Risks – Many of us fear the consequences of our perceived emergencies. Yet, we will all encounter some drama and unexpected events. That is life. It is normal, unless you plan to live locked in your home never to come out. You have to take some risks, and you have to be willing to let yourself fail when appropriate.
  4. Sometimes Bad Isn’t All Bad – Ironically, many of the emergencies that we fear turn out to not be that bad. The results are no where as catastrophic as we predicted. Additionally, many times there is opportunity in the bad. Opportunity for growth, to learn something new, or for a new opportunity.
  5. Some Fires Should Not Be Put Out – Some people like to create emergencies for others. They enjoy bringing their drama to you and others. However, you need to be able to resist other people’s fire drills that are disguised as emergencies. Just because your co-worker did not do their job for the past month doesn’t mean that you should be ruining your vacation to save them. Some fires should not be put out. It only hides bigger problems. Sometimes you have to let things happen.

Keep Your Head

The next time those emergency bells go off, ask yourself, “Is this really an emergency? Or could you be overreacting?”

Keep your head while others are panicking.

Prevent urgent matters from interrupting your priorities.

And don’t let worry and stress rule your life.

It is amazing what you can accomplish when you are calm in the face of perceived doom.

Do you let emergencies rules your life? How do you deal with faced with one?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • robbyslaughter

    Most of work in environments in which there are no work-related emergencies. If you’re a surgeon or a firefighter, this isn’t the case, but if you operate in almost any office environment than there’s no such thing as a work-related emergency. In these situations, any potential critical event is a personal crisis. If you or a loved one experiences an emergency while you are at work, the answer is obvious: leave work!

    • TMNinja

      @robbyslaughter Robby, great perspective.

      Love your last sentence. Always amazing how many people put work above their family.

      Someone was telling a story here the other day about an executive who was on his cell phone while his wife was delivering their child.

  • robbyslaughter

    Most of work in environments in which there are no work-related emergencies. If you’re a surgeon or a firefighter, this isn’t the case, but if you operate in almost any office environment than there’s no such thing as a work-related emergency. In these situations, any potential critical event is a personal crisis. If you or a loved one experiences an emergency while you are at work, the answer is obvious: leave work!

  • al.pittampalli

    Good post. Most of the time we do overreact to emergencies. And I think many times we do so subconsciously to avoid the important work we’re supposed to be doing. It’s the fear, or as Steven Pressfield calls the resistance that stops us.

    • TMNinja

      @al.pittampalli Al, I am a big fan of Steven Pressfield.

      Have you read his new book, “Do the Work?”

      • al.pittampalli

        @TMNinja @al.pittampalli I have read it! One of my favorites!

  • GregOrtbach

    Thanks for the post. It’s absolutely true however for us in the #custserv business, it’s important to not downplay the things our clients feel are emergencies. Therein lies the balance.

    • TMNinja

      @GregOrtbach Greg, great point. Often our customers have urgent issues that to them are emergencies. It can be a delicate balance.

      On the other side, I know companies that have “fired” customers because they were always having “emergencies.” 🙂

  • al.pittampalli

    Good post. Most of the time we do overreact to emergencies. And I think many times we do so subconsciously to avoid the important work we’re supposed to be doing. It’s the fear, or as Steven Pressfield calls the resistance that stops us.

  • GregOrtbach

    Thanks for the post. It’s absolutely true however for us in the #custserv business, it’s important to not downplay the things our clients feel are emergencies. Therein lies the balance.

  • Bookmarking this post as a great reminder to myself! I often find myself worrying and/or overreacting when it’s completely unnecessary, particularly about large decisions. I need to remember that everything can be changed. It’s so silly to have unnecessary worry and heartache!

    • TMNinja

      @annedreshfield Anne, thanks for the kind words!

      Agree that many of us spend too much worrying. Best to use that time in a productive manner! 🙂

  • Bookmarking this post as a great reminder to myself! I often find myself worrying and/or overreacting when it’s completely unnecessary, particularly about large decisions. I need to remember that everything can be changed. It’s so silly to have unnecessary worry and heartache!

  • TMNinja

    @GregOrtbach Greg, great point. Often our customers have urgent issues that to them are emergencies. It can be a delicate balance.

    On the other side, I know companies that have “fired” customers because they were always having “emergencies.” 🙂

  • TMNinja

    @annedreshfield Anne, thanks for the kind words!

    Agree that many of us spend too much worrying. Best to use that time in a productive manner! 🙂

  • TMNinja

    @al.pittampalli Al, I am a big fan of Steven Pressfield.

    Have you read his new book, “Do the Work?”

  • TMNinja

    @robbyslaughter Robby, great perspective.

    Love your last sentence. Always amazing how many people put work above their family.

    Someone was telling a story here the other day about an executive who was on his cell phone while his wife was delivering their child.

  • Now this was a very good post I have to say. I see myself saying the term emergency to much but in reality it is just a small task that will be taken care of as soon as I finish with the rest of the. I feel it is just re arranging some of the things that I have set going on into a better format. Thanks for the great post.

  • Now this was a very good post I have to say. I see myself saying the term emergency to much but in reality it is just a small task that will be taken care of as soon as I finish with the rest of the. I feel it is just re arranging some of the things that I have set going on into a better format. Thanks for the great post.

  • ErinSkellyCameron

    This is a great article. I think I’ll print it and post it right next to my desk.

    We have a saying in my office (actually, I say it all the time, trying to spread it around): “Failure to plan [prepare] on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” We almost never refuse an “emergency” request, but we don’t fly into a panic when we get them – they’re daily business around here, due to so many people failing to properly read instructions.

  • al.pittampalli

    @TMNinja @al.pittampalli I have read it! One of my favorites!

  • ErinSkellyCameron

    This is a great article. I think I’ll print it and post it right next to my desk.

    We have a saying in my office (actually, I say it all the time, trying to spread it around): “Failure to plan [prepare] on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” We almost never refuse an “emergency” request, but we don’t fly into a panic when we get them – they’re daily business around here, due to so many people failing to properly read instructions.

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