A couple of weeks ago, I dropped and broke a bottle of wine. As much as I hate to ruin a good bottle of wine, I didn’t beat myself up because it was an accident.
Have you noticed how often people use the word “accident?”
For example, a couple is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, and they tell people it was an accident.
Someone wrecks their car, and they tell you they were in an accident.
Whatever the situation, having an accident has become the default reason provided for why something happened.
The problem is that there’s no such thing as an accident.
By definition an accident “is an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.”
Take, for example, when I broke the bottle of wine.
It happened while I was hurrying around packing for a recent camping trip.
I went into our cold cellar and grabbed several bottles at once. I didn’t have a good grip on one of them, and when I turned around, it dropped from my hand.
In other words, breaking a bottle of wine was not an accident, as there is a cause I can point to — my haste.
When a couple claims that being pregnant was an accident. Unless some miraculous happened, last time I looked, pregnancy is the result of a deliberate act.
When it comes to traffic collisions, there is always a reason: poor maintenance, distractions, aggressive driving, and thousands of other reasons. While the cause may be the other driver, it’s still not an accident that the collision has occurred.
Assuming I’ve convinced you there’s no such thing as an accident, what’s up with how much we use the word?
Calling something an accident is about helping yourself feel better about an uncomfortable situation.
In using the word accident, you justifying the existence of a problem, such as dropping a bottle of wine, an unplanned pregnancy, or a a traffic collision.
What you need to know, though, is that as long as you carry around a justification, you are going to continue to be impacted by your *accident.*
I could beat myself up or be embarrassed for a long time because I broke a bottle of wine.
A couple could struggle to accept the birth of their baby.
You might be in another collision because you won’t take responsibility for changing something.
By now, you might be thinking, “But, Mike, I didn’t intend to .”
I get that.
Trust me when I say I didn’t intend to drop a bottle of wine. What a waste!
However, there is a cause to why the bottle was smashed all over the floor.
When I took responsibility for my role in that cause, I moved on from the frustration and embarrassment of dropping the bottle.
Pay attention the next time you say the word *accident.* Thankfully, most of the time it will be relatively minor compared to pregnancy and collisions.
Then, pause for a moment. Breathing is a fantastic tool for clearing your mind.
Ask yourself what led to the event you just experienced. (Hint: There’s always a cause.)
Then, decide how you want to be with the event that just happened.
I got down to cleaning up the spilled wine (and my tears.) Then, I moved on to my next task cheerfully and without hesitation.
So, there may be accidents. However, they only exist in your mind, and they never solve the problems that caused something to happen.
You’ve got this.