Why Does It Always Rain When I Travel?

The following is a guest post by MMD from My Money Design, a personal finance blog about creating strategies for achieving financial freedom.

Whenever I travel, it’s always the same.  On the way to the airport, the rain starts to fall.  So when I park my car a million miles away, I’m sure to get to soaked.

The plane is usually delayed due to the weather, so I do my best to pass the time.  When we land, I’m back outside in the rain and wind, and lost trying to find the rental car office.  After a half hour on the computer, the rental car agent finds my reservation and I’m off to drive on roads I’ve never been on before.

The GPS in my phone doesn’t seem to be getting a signal in this city.  Good thing I printed the directions to my destination, but it’s a little tough to read them while driving.  And just when I think I’ve got the hang of it, it looks like there’s construction up ahead!

Finally!  Here’s my hotel.  Oh, what’s that?  The storm knocked out the power and you can’t check anyone in?  I guess I’ll get back in my car and go kill some time at a nearby Chili’s.

Is the Deck Stacked Against Me?

Every day in our lives, we encounter any number of situations where it feels like every force imaginable is against us.  What gives?  Is everyone going to pile on me today?

And sure it would be all too easy to play the part of the victim; to assume that our luck has anything to do with it.  To a small degree, it does.

I’ve always liked the analogy of life being like a card game because we never know what hand of cards we’re going to get that day.  Sometimes you get handed a straight-flush, and other times you barely get a pair.  You could declare “that’s not fair”, but that’s life.  It’s just the way things go.

The real question is what do you plan to do about it?  How are you going to make the most of the hand you were dealt?

Our Dependency Makes Us Less Creative:

It is my belief that our disappointment to things going wrong stems from our lack of ability to handle situations that seem foreign to us.

From a young age, we’re trained to be so dependent on everyone else.  I’m a parent, and I know this.  Get me chocolate milk.  Wake me up in the morning.  A reminder to do your homework.

While we naturally begin to take over responsibility for some of these things as adults, our wiring for problem solving and overcoming challenges still needs exercise.   We still EXPECT that just because we’ve made a plan that everything is going to stick according to it; that everything is going to go smoothly down a path that someone has crafted for me.

But of course that doesn’t happen.  And when it doesn’t, the last thing you want to be is helpless.

Observe and Adapt:

Anyone can walk from point A to B.  Anyone can learn a sequence of buttons to push to make a machine work.  However, what is invaluable is how someone manages to turn a situation of lead into gold.

The true test of our success comes from how we react to the challenges we face.  When things don’t go the way we planned, that doesn’t mean we’ve been dealt a bad hand.  It just means you’ve got to work a little harder than the next guy to get what you want.

We’d all do better to learn to stop trying to control everything in life, because it’s never going to happen.  The road may be jammed tomorrow.  The stock market may crash.  But how you observe, adjust, and adapt will depend on how creative you are to deal with whatever life wants to throw at you.

Your coping skills are both like a muscle and an art.  As a muscle, they need exercise to grow and get stronger.  And as an art, you need to recognize the uniqueness of each situation and apply the right tools to combat it.  I may never know why it has to rain every time I travel, but that’s not important; nor is it anything I can control.  All I have is power over is how I can react to the circumstances.

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

How do you make the most of the hand you were dealt?

Comments

  1. Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence says

    I have been thinking the same lately, and I always try to find three positive things about any bad situation, and also reasons why this is not personal. Even someone screaming at me is not personal, he is probably having a bad day. Those skills do get stronger with time.
    My recent post One suitcase for one year of travel, what to pack

  2. Holly@ClubThrifty says

    Good post! I don't know. I always try to make the best of each situation. That's the best that I can do. We certainly cannot control everything.

  3. Greg@ClubThrifty says

    Adapating to challenges is a difficult but necessary thing. For me, I'm more of a "go with the flow" sort of person, so I don't have as much problem with it as others I know. I think that the more schedule/plan oriented you are, the more difficult it can be to adapt to things that are out of your control. Not that it can't be done, or that you shouldn't plan. It is more a matter of wiring. Since we've become parents, I think we are both a lot better at this now.
    My recent post How I Saved at Least $50,000 by Buying New Furniture

  4. MoneySmartGuides says

    I always try to look at the positive in any situation. I stress the word try because some times my emotions get the best of me and I need to stop and step back for a minute. My trick is to find something positive out of it. In the example given above with the road construction, at least the road isn't closed or at least my plane wasn't canceled and I am close to my destination.

    It doesn't seem like there is a point to this, but I have found that once I turn my negativity off and just focus on good things, I feel better and think more clearly and as mentioned above, am able to think creatively.
    My recent post 10 Things That Make You Poorer

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    I think you put it right when you say it's not in our control. I think that's one of the first things that must be determined when you feel like the world is just aligned against you. If it is out of your control, then there's no real sense in getting bent out of shape. All that will happen is you have a crappy attitude, but still stuck in the same situation.
    My recent post Should We Really be Concerned About the Fiscal Cliff?

  6. Leslie says

    Well in that situation above, let's see, "The storm knocked out the power and you can’t check anyone in? I guess I’ll get back in my car and go kill some time at a nearby Chili’s." It's not clear if the power is only out in the hotel or all across town. If only at the hotel, then you can use this time to explore the town, go to a local restaurant, treat yourself to a guilty pleasure meal or something different. If the power is out everywhere, you're probably not the only one at the hotel waiting around, so you can make friends with the other miserable travelers and perhaps distract yourselves with more positive conversation.
    My recent post VA Beach Half Marathon 2012

  7. worksavelive says

    We were up in Minneapolis last week and it was a nightmare trying to get my Garmin to work! In regards to your point, I do think it's very telling of a person in how they deal with and overcome adversity. It's tough when things don't go your way or are challenged to learn something new in order to overcome an obstacle. Dependency is a serious problem many of us have and it's not always fun when you can't control things.
    My recent post Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance Quotes

  8. therandompath says

    I agree with what Greg said above: Becoming a parent really makes you become a "go with the flow" kind of a person, even if that's not normally your personality. I've definitely become more flexible since being a mom. Many things are out of your control, and sometimes you just have to go with it.
    My recent post Money Well Spent

  9. RichUncle EL says

    Cool Post. Already being a reserved person with extreme patience I can agree to the go with the flow attitude of life. Also when things are out of your control all I know how to do is adapt.
    My recent post The Best Personal Finance Tips

  10. Cassi says

    I live in a desert, so the sound of rain sounds amazing.

    I've been told that I was dealt a hard hand in life, but as an optimist, I never had issues finding the silver lining to any situation.

  11. Erica says

    This post is exactly what I needed after a day like today. Life in general has been stressful lately, more specifically the financial aspect of life. My husband and I are thisclose to paying off our student loans, our only debt, only to have my husband check his credit report last night (for the first time in years…grrr…) and find that he has 3 accounts in collections that he never even knew about. I've had this huge feeling of defeat because of this and am mad about so many aspects of the whole situation. Now he needs to start the long, annoying process with these collections companies, and even though the debt is a relatively small amount (less than $5K), it is just so…UGH! But, it's a crappy hand to be dealt, and we'll deal with it and get over it and be able to look back on it…eventually =)

    It felt good to vent that out, as I've been entirely too embarrassed to vent it to anyone but my husband.

  12. frugal habits says

    There are certainly days that go really well and you feel that sense of accomplishment – and then there are days that everything goes wrong. Usually there is nothing you can do but to stay persistent and forget about things you can't control…. Yes, its hard to do, but is the best solution I've always found.
    My recent post Five Ways to Help your Kids Learn about Money

  13. Budget & the Beach says

    I guess the answer is I just do the best I can. Funny in that I can handle bigger a bigger crisis more calmly than a small one, like my computer going to slow. Not sure why that is. I think one key for me is I learned how to take responsibility for absolutely everything that happens to me, whether good or bad, that way I don't feel like a victim.
    My recent post My Skype Job Interview

  14. Canadianbudgetbinder says

    Your last line says it all "All I have power over is how I can react to the circumstances". If we go through life blaming others or ourselves we won't make it to the next step. We need to stop complaining and start challenging ourselves to make life better. When I moved to Canada and they told me my Uni degree would pretty much mean nothing here i didn't complain nor did I run off to get the first job offered. I took myself back to school because that was the way I reacted to the circumstances. I needed to either upgrade to my education to Canadian Standards or do something different. I didn't want to settle for a minimum wage job… the cards were dealt I just threw them back in. Another example is road rage.. when someone cuts you off you have the power to flip them the finger and get angry and get even or just to let it go, because really how could you let a stranger send negative vibes your way, besides you would solve nothing. Excellent Post! Mr.CBB
    My recent post Mr.CBB’s Weekly Blog Post Picks Oct 26,2012

  15. SP says

    I have the opposite luck – whenever I go on vacation, I have ideal weather! I went to Bergen, Norway (a notoriously rainy place) and it was so sunny! my friend that I was visiting credited me for bringing the LA weather with me :)

    that said, I'm pretty positive about things, and surely could think of bad weather vacations if I tried :)

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