My dermatologist leaned in with a stern expression and gave me the news.
“There’s an unusual condition that we see sometimes that crosses all specialties, and you have it. And since you have helped out my daughter a couple of times with her education issues and job decisions, I will tell you what it is.”
I had woken up to find my skin peeling off. In big pieces. All over my body. Including my face. I had recently returned from Africa where Ebola was in full force. Did I have Ebola? Was it just a terrible outbreak of the psoriasis that I had since I was a kid?
“I am about to let you in on a medical secret,” she continued.
Could it be…was this secret what I’d feared when looking in the mirror…I was a zombie?
“Alright already, what do I have?,” I stammered.
“You have shit happens.”
My clever response was, “What?”
“We doctors like to give the impression that we know everything about everything but the reality is there are quite a few things that people come in with and we just don’t have a clue. “
“So it’s not Ebola? I’m not a zombie? I have shit happens?”
“Exactly. The bad news is that all of your skin will peel off in the next few weeks. The good news is that when it does, it will reveal a new layer, like baby skin. And you’ll look ten years younger. People pay lots of money to get this done.”
It occurred to me that there are things that happen in the business world that fall into the same category as my skin peel. And have the same cause. People make themselves crazy trying to figure out why these things have happened. They hire lots of consultants, do lots of research, analyze the situation to death. And still, there is no answer. Why? Because sometimes things just happen.
The important thing to do in cases like this is to just move on quickly before you waste lots of time and money trying to figure out something that is not figureoutable.
Accept it happened. Accept you have no idea why and neither does anyone else. Take it as a given and figure out how to use it to your advantage. Ask yourself how this unexplainable thing can give you a market advantage, or ideas for a new product, or a less expensive or more effective way to produce a project or deliver a service.
How do you know it’s one of these cases?
When you notice that something happened completely unrelated to anything around you or anything that you have any control over.
There may very well be an explanation, but, like in the case of my skin, it’s beyond current knowledge and expertise. So again, let it go, move on. Just tell yourself it’s the universe playing a trick on you.
As Arthur C Clarke, the brilliant futurist and writer once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
I left the dermatologist’s office that day, several years ago, a bit befuddled, but relieved. And sure enough, when the last of my old skin had peeled off, it turned out my dermatologist was right. People would say to me “What did you do? You look great.”
“Shit happens.” I told them.