How to Handle Life’s Pop Quizzes

You were up all night writing a paper for your literature class and barely got up in time to make it to your 10 o’clock biology class. Just a few sips into your grandé Starbucks coffee, your professor walks in and says the two words every student dreads: POP QUIZ. Not only were you just giving yourself a pat on the back for simply making it to class, now you have to figure out how you’re going to get a least a 70% on this quiz. We’ve all been there, right? Well, I’d like to argue that life has pop quizzes too. Although there might not be a grade attached to each quiz, whether we pass or fail them determines how often we are tested. Let me explain.

I travel to and from work over an hour and 10 minutes everyday, five days a week. Everyday, I ask the Lord for traveling mercies. On my way back from work and still about 45 minutes from home, OnStar tells me my tire pressure is depleting. I got a flat tire. I called AAA and they said because my mother (whose name it’s registered under) wasn’t with me, they couldn’t help me. They transferred me to Turnpike assistance, I told them where I was, and they said someone would be out right away.

There it was, right in front of me, a pop quiz. No one ever knows when a flat tire is going to happen. Would I be upset at myself for running over something that punched a hole in my tire? How would I react when AAA says they can’t help me out, be angry or upset? Where would my thoughts go while I was awaiting the arrival of the towing company service, positive or negative? How I chose to react would determine: 1. how long I’d be inconvenienced 2. and when the next quiz would be. Then, all of sudden, I just started laughing.

I knew it was the day’s test that I had to pass. I passed because my reaction to the situation wasn’t “Woe is me,” but instead “It could have been so much worse.” My point is this: No, you can’t prepare for life’s pop quizzes, but you can, however, determine your reaction. Life’s pop quizzes can be few and far between if you only react with a mentality that looks at the positive in the situation and not dwelling on the negative. That is the ingredient to determining whether you pass or fail.

I encourage you to react positively instead of negatively to your next “surprise inconvenience” and see how quickly you are delivered from the situation. Then, when you do react positively, think back to the last time you were inconvenienced and I bet it will be difficult recall. Good luck on passing your next quiz!

An Under Par, but Understood Underwood

On this past Thursday night, many people around the country were in front of their televisions anticipating an event that had not taken place in over 50 years. One of the most famous and beloved musicals was produced live on NBC, The Sound of Music. We got, what I’ll call an appetizer of what was to come at The Macy’s Day Parade and it seemed great, but when it was time to delve into the main course, they forgot the meat and potatoes.

If we are being honest, their tactic worked; they got a big name person, so that we all would watch and that we did. We all know that Carrie Underwood has this amazing voice and those who know of her vocal talents, would follow her to the moon and back. But in this performance, she didn’t shine amongst the stars.

Carrie was a newbie to both the musical and acting scene, thus making her vocals her only saving grace and even her vocals were not the glamorous showcase in which we are accustomed. Being a huge fan of hers since American Idol, it was difficult for me to watch her sink and not swim. However, Carrie has my utmost respect for trying something new and foreign to anything she has done since being in the limelight. I don’t know if you knew this, but people tend to talk about you whether you are doing good or bad. People want you to ‘stay in your lane’ and ‘stick to what you know,’ but has anyone ever grown that way? If we never stepped outside of our comfort zone and tried on something new, we would always be the same person we were yesterday and that’s not what life’s about. When we go through new experiences, there will be some we will get through with flying colors and for others, the exact opposite. This was an experience Carrie went through (in front of millions of people mind you), that did not produce flying colors, and that’s okay with me. Now that she has done this, if she wants to do it again she: A. Knows what she needs to work on B. Can get the best coaches money can buy to help her. There it is in black and white.

I had high hopes because of what I know Carrie Underwood is capable of and even though those hopes were let down, she still made me proud. I think it’s evident the lesson I’m taking from Carrie: Have fun trying on something new even if you look silly doing it because no matter what, you learn a little more about yourself. I hope this is what she took from it as well.Image