Sometimes things don’t work out they way they are planned. In fact, more often than not plans do not follow their intended paths, veering off into the land of shit hitting the fan. Such vivid imagery, but for some it is a far more pleasant alternative to the reality of plans gone awry. Plans change, plans evolve, and some plans go so horribly wrong that there is no end in sight. But there is.

It is serendipitous that I write this article in the wake of a storm that has knocked out power indefinitely. Thankfully, power packs and the convenience of modern technology allow me to complete this despite being surrounded by dark homes and downed trees. Some may define this as shit hitting the fan, and cranking out a blog article as staying positive. Whatever the case, even when shit hits the fan, shit still needs to get done.

It can be easy to sit back and hope that things get better, but remaining positive can help you and those who surround you through a dark time. You don’t have to be a day of sunshine, but you can be the person to remind others that this isn’t the end of the world. You can help extinguish the flames, rather than fueling them, and you can come up with a course of action that allows you to get back to square one.

Staying Positive Doesn’t Mean Rainbows and Butterflies
Most people think of positivity and think of awful motivational catchphrases that really just send you barreling deeper into negativity. Realistically, in the unfortunate event of shit hitting the fan, positivity can be perseverance, realistic plans to move forward, and picking up the pieces even when the walls are crumbling down.

Positivity doesn’t mean you need to have unrealistic expectations and just grin through the day hoping things magically get better. What it does mean is that you can move through the day, knowing that you and your peers have the skills to make things get better. Positivity doesn’t mean that when shit hits the fan you have to pretend it didn’t and carry on as if all is well. It means you carry on without making the situation worse. The rainbows and butterflies “positivity,” can do the same with making a crappy situation a crappier situation.

Don’t Throw More Shit in the Fan
When all hell breaks loose, don’t be the person who’s fueling the fire. Don’t be the person who sits around and watches other people fuel the fire. Be the person who tries to make sense of the situation, the one who tries to extinguish the fire. It’s not an easy task, and the bystander effect means that most people will stand around hoping that someone else will be the one to do it. The one who does try to extinguish the fire, even if they fail, will still be seen as a hero.

Not only this, but people can get emotional and hysterical when things don’t go according to plan. Try to be the anchor that keeps them calm and don’t make things worse by reacting poorly to their reactions. Being a voice of reason during a chaotic situation can do wonders for all those involved, and will help everyone to get on the same page working towards a resolution.

Come Up With a Plan of Action
So everything went down the drain, and nothing went according to plan. It’s easy to sit there and sulk and wish that all had gone differently. While you can’t change what has already happened, you can improve the outcome and prevent it from happening again.

Stay positive and recognize that with proper planning, mistakes can be repaired, reputations can change, and that whatever went wrong can go right. Figure out a step by step way to get to the desired outcome, and then tackle each step one at a time.

Don’t Expect to Clean Up Everything At Once
It will be very easy to get discouraged and lose the will to carry on. Prevent this by setting small goals, delegating and splitting up tasks, and knowing that some messes take time to clean up. You might not have the tools necessary to make cleanup a quick and easy task. You might need a power washer and all you have is a toothbrush. While it might be easier with the proper tools, sometimes you’ll have to clean up with the tools you already have.

This will take time. Know it, and plan for it. Repairing damage that has been done takes time, and if you think you can do it all at once, you’ll soon become burnt out. You’ll do a crappy job, and you won’t be happy with your end results.

Remember That This, Too, Shall Pass
Ultimately, what has gotten many a person through a difficult time is the recognition that their experience is temporary and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. While you may be surrounded by chaos, chaos is not a permanent condition and soon all will improve, whether by the natural course of time, or by someone taking charge of a bad situation and making it better.

This too, shall pass. The power will be restored. The mess will be cleaned up. The world will return to its normal. And at that point you can go back to being your normal negative self. In the meantime, try to help move past the incident so things can return to normal sooner.

When the shit hits the fan, try to keep your chin up and find a way to be positive. It can be difficult to do it, but once you’ve recognized that, your energy can be used either destructively or constructively. Either one will bring you to a different end result, and one will inevitably be shittier than the other. Take the positive route, and you won’t be knee high in shit for long.

Powered by Marion Fernandez & The Galiano Group Writing Team.