Last year, Sheryl Sandberg, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook suddenly lost her husband. Nothing in her life had prepared her for the unexpected and crippling grief she faced. Her feelings about beginnings and endings are beautifully articulated in the graduation speech she gave last month at the University of California, Berkeley, which is being billed as possibly the greatest graduation speech of all times.
In her speech, Sandberg talks about the three ‘P’s: “After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that there are three P’s—personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence—that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship. The seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the negative events in our lives.”
Personalization is the belief that we are at fault. Pervasiveness is the belief that an event will affect all areas of your life. Permanence is the belief that the sorrow will last forever.
We’d like to suggest that there is a fourth ‘P’. Planning. For it is planning for the unexpected that gives us that cushioning we so desperately need when things go wrong. It doesn’t bring loved ones back, but it does remove some of the worry associated with losing a spouse. And while the first 3 P’s can only be processed after the fact, planning is something we can all do now. It can provide us with some reassurance in the present, in having done all that we can to be prepared, and in the future, when it is dearly needed.
We hope you will find as much meaning in this speech as we have, which you can read by clicking here.