What ifs and whatnots when things don’t go well
I had to give a presentation recently. It was my 7and thankfully final presentation of my degree. Despite my accumulative experience, it was undoubtedly, and surprisingly, my worst performance ever. While I specifically refrained from caffeine consumption beforehand, I somehow still managed to ramble at a gazillion miles an hour, fluffing words I can usually pronounce and missing key points. Although I practiced at home until I could effortlessly perform in just under 15 minutes, during my assessment, I spewed out my speech in just 7 bumbled minutes. I felt deflated. This was not an accurate representation of what I am capable of, yet this is what I will be judged on. I consoled myself with the fact it only contributes 20% to my final grade.
But nonetheless, persistent “what ifs…” pierced my thoughts all afternoon and evening. But blame is lame and no number of excuses will improve my grade. I struggled to fall asleep which is why I journalled, at silly o’clock in the morning, to release the thoughts from my head, so I was free to sleep in peace. The act of releasing thoughts on to the page is cathartic. What if I had slowed down and taken a deep breath before each new powerpoint slide? What if I hadn’t been distracted by my audience? What if I wasn’t so tired? What if I had practised presenting in that room beforehand so the technology and setup wasn’t alien to me? I know “what ifs” are pointless. A more useful question would be, “What now?” I cannot change what happened. I can only forgive myself and learn and grow from my experience. I reflected on where I could have done things differently and can use these as development points for future reference.
However, what consoled me when I got home after my presentation was a surprise care package that contained a heart-felt message, some chocolate and a healthy cookie among other carefully chosen items that shows how well my friend knows me. This gorgeous gesture from a dear friend helped put everything into perspective. While studying for a degree is important and life changing, a bad grade is also not the end of the world. The most important things in life are not things like material abundance or status; what matters are people we meet along the way, the relationships we co-create (especially our relationship with our selves) and the experiences we share to make every situation better than we found it.
So, I gratefully gobbled up my emotions and slurped a delicious chai as I snuggled under a blanket to watch an episode of QI. I felt so grateful for the thoughtful gift from my friend and the gift of reflection so I can learn from my bloopers. Now I want to pay this gorgeous gesture forward and brighten up someone else’s day with a surprise parcel that shows how much I care and value them.
Onwards and funwards with plenty of ooops rather than what ifs…..xXx