How to Avoid a Life Crisis Misinterpretation

I came home from a long day on the iPad writing up my new course.

I parked my car in the empty space provided by the absence of my parents car (we have a shared driveway and live next door)

Sitting down, my wife told me about her day; she was unable to get her hair cut because her hairdresser had called to say she couldn’t make it.

While in the kitchen that overlooks the lounge I heard this –

“Your mums been rushed to hospital, they’ve opened a bed for her, her test results came back, she has cancer of the stomach”


7 years ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have extensive surgery by. My father has Parkinsons disease and is now getting dementia.

I felt sick to the core

My head span and my stomach pitted itself into a knot. Flashing before my eyes I saw my mother in a hospital and thought she wasn’t going to make it this time. It would be quick and my father would have to be taken care of.

“Does Ian know or Chris?” I asked Zarn. (they’re my two brothers)

“What was that?”

“Does Ian or Chris know? “Who’s told them?”

“What are you on about?”

“Does Ian or Chris know mum’s been taken into hospital?”

Then it struck and left me shaken

“No not you’re mum, the hairdressers!”

Fxxk….I spent the next 10 minutes re-orienting back to a different reality.

How to avoid it happening again

I’d had my Cuban Missile Crisis and this is how to avoid the same mistake.

When you hear something that causes you to spin:

1) Repeat back what you’ve heard – clearly

2) Watch the response from the other person – did they agree with what you’ve repeated back (ie head nod) or do they look confused

3) If they agreed with what you’ve repeated back – get more detail.

4) If they look confused, ask them to repeat what they said back to you more clearly.

5) Take it from there.

The mis-heard statement

I had taken in one fact in the equation – my parents car was not present – and linked this to the second part of the equation with the word “Your mother…” from “(name of the hairdressers) mother…”

and put fact with mishearing to arrive at conclusion

Fact + Mishearing = Conclusion

For our Hairdresser

Our hearts go out to you both in this time of need.

Keeping Strong

No matter what we do in life, we cannot avoid what it will bring. It’s how we deal with them in the moment and keep our head and heart strong.


Rob Ballentine





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