Didn’t See It Coming by Carey Nieuwhof [Book Summary – Review]

Life goes rather quickly, doesn’t it? One day you wake up and see you’ve just graduated and are keen to transform the world with your great ideas and motivation. The following day, you look at the mirror and see a middle-aged skeptic, taking drugs in order to evade the feelings of regret, frustration, and depression. 

Everyone will go through this: you can be a very successful manager or a diligent barista, but, one day you’ll face one of the seven big hurdles in life, which are cynicism, compromise, disconnection, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness.

Fortunately for you, it is possible to grasp how to identify the symptoms of these imminent hurdles and take action to lessen their effect. In this summary, you’ll learn more in detail about the seven great obstacles and the way you can apply Jesus’s instructions as a roadmap to navigate them. 

Buy this book from Amazon

Chapter 1 – People don’t begin to be cynical because they don’t care. In contrast, they become so because they care. 

In order to describe the writer Pastor Carey Nieuwhof, we can use the word ”idealist.” You might not be perplexed by this: well, to begin to be so well-known in the Christian community, it assists to look at the best on Earth. However, the past has not been completely the best for his entire life. In the first years of his profession as a pastor, the writer faced the first of our seven big hurdles in life: cynicism. He had to deal with this to begin to be the happy optimist he is nowadays.

Soon after having begun working as a minister, Carey saw there was work in a country community in Ontario. He gave preaches at three churches, the biggest of which saw the participation of 23 people on average. Carey was desirous of having more people join the preaches, thus, he guaranteed those who came to the church felt special and are well cared for. 

Those who attended his church had a very important place in Carey. However, this caring wounded him emotionally.

After Roger and Mary attended his church for the first time, Carey was able to understand they had to get special help. They were emotionally in a bad situation and poverty-stricken and there were times when they were unable to attend the church since their automobile often went wrong. Carey ensured they possessed a sufficient amount of money for gas and he went to see them across town no matter when they had to get spiritual or emotional assistance. 

But one day, Roger told him that they would no longer attend his church. Why? Carey hadn’t helped Roger and Mary enough.

What Roger said upset Carey very much. In the subsequent weeks, he saw that he was no longer looking after and putting faith in others. 

Carey was aware this couldn’t go on like this. However, how could he make things right? 

Carey recalled that God had Jesus come on Earth to fight against inescapable human cynicism. Jesus faced despondency and guaranteed it wouldn’t prevail. He understood that provided that Jesus continued to be with him, there was no necessity to worry that his past would turn into his future. 

Allowing Jesus to enter your life lasts very long. Fortunately, we are able to take tangible steps today to fight pervasive cynicism. For starters, arrange an unorganized time for thinking and being curious. Being open to opportunities that are novel and distinct from situations you’ve by now gone through has the capacity to bring about unforeseen happiness. Second, pose questions that can have various answers, such as “why?” and “why not?” and listen – genuinely listen – to the things others need to utter. What they say might astonish you.

However, do you know what the most significant thing is? Being always inquisitive. Those who are curious are not cynical, and vice versa.

Chapter 2 – Relentless personality, not talent, defines the distance you cover in life. 

Probably, there are people around you who’ve transformed through time. Perhaps, you have friends who had a lot of energy in the past, however, today kill the entire time watching the TV. What’s even worse is that perhaps there are people around you who made wedding vows, however, start flirting – or going further – several years after their marriage.

How would things turn out to be were your friends to be bastions of self-discipline and great moral judgment? The sole thing to do is to see the uppermost levels of politics, entertainment, sports, and religious leadership. Certainly, there will be people whose good days are long gone, having left values that were so important for them, which was what they told.

Such people have been the victim of the second of our biggest hurdles – compromise – and their personalities have been hurt consequently.

According to Carey, the personality is the degree to which a person lives in accordance with their values. A person who lives his life just as the person he desires to be. If one discredits one’s values, one increases the gap between the person one is and the person one craves to be. 

Those who have a strong personality will eventually achieve success in life compared to their very accomplished rivals. Those who are skilled may earn a great deal of money, own plenty of stuff, and possess a huge professional network. However, being skilled doesn’t mean joy. A good personality defines ultimate happiness since it involves creating important relationships that have an enduring effect. 

Being a paster, Carey has presided a great many funerals. Never have the deceased’s relatives read aloud their loved one’s life or mentioned the amount of money they had in the bank. Carey has discovered that it is possible for someone to be highly successful and skilled; yet, someone can pass away with creating no impact. When your personality is good, however, people who you loved and who loved you will remember – and miss -you.

People won’t say to you that you need to improve your personality – excluding your spouse should you be married as they can say it. However, you’ll suffer the consequences unless you do. Others will stop being eager to kill time with you, and you’ll those whom you hold dear. 

Developing a better personality is a difficult task. Actually, this may turn out to be completely painful. It is necessary to go into the broken points in your heart to comprehend the reason behind doing the things in which you feel no pride. 

However, the other thing you can do is discrediting your values and causing long-term harm – to yourself and those whom you care about. Well, it is not difficult to choose between.

Chapter 3 – Technology is not responsible for generating disconnection. It simply augments what already exists.

This is something everyone knows: people live in more isolation than any given time in history. Our mobiles, tablets, PCs, automobiles, fridges, and everything else are close enough to have their own intelligence to intervene in our relationships with people closest and most valuable to us.

Furthermore, social media has gradually transformed everyone into obsessive self-admiring people. One prominent research from the 1950s posed a question to teenagers regarding if they believed they considered themselves “very significant.” The number of those who answered yes was no more than 10 percent. The exact same research carried out in the 2000s unveiled that the number of teenagers who answered yes was more than 80 percent. If a great number of us believe that we’re God’s present to humanity, we may not be easy to present other people the patience and care they merit.

We can all agree that technology has a very close connection to the third of our seven hurdles: disconnection. However, it is neither the beginning nor the end of it.

No matter what your weakness – such as pride, sloth, or bias – is, a technology that can aggravate it always exists. 

However, technology assists us to stay in touch with friends, acquire novel facilities, and aid those who are in need. Perhaps, this can cause the worst in us to come out or the best to come out. 

In the same fashion as money, technology makes up a dreadful lord but a great servant. It increases not just the bad but also the good. What we have to do is to guarantee that there is something that deserves amplifying, to begin with.

Genuine talks make up a great place to begin. A great many people never actually have a conversation with each other, however, instead, simply rotate to have a monologue. Thus, remain curious about the person with whom you have a conversation. Pose them emotional questions and actually pay heed to their responses rather than simply waiting for them to finish their speech so that you can talk. It is not important if you utilize technology while talking with others or not. If you listen to them, there will be a more profound bind every time. 

Even so, it surely won’t be a problem to restrict technology’s place in your life – particularly with respect to your family. Dinner, and other significant family moments, should not involve any technology. In fact, if you desire to share a valuable moment with someone, you should not include technology. 

The writer Carey’s mobile is always on Do Not Disturb mode for the entire day; thus, Carey doesn’t feel the need to check his phone after message sounds and etc. He generally has adequate time during the day to see the things he missed on his mobile. With regard to his family, this can be different.

Chapter 4 – Being open to transformation and countering irrelevance assist to heighten your effect. 

Do you know Aunt Helen? Her home appears to be fixed in a time not contemporary. From her shag carpets, waterbed, and orange egg chair, we can infer that Aunt Helen has ceased to change her style. 

Aunt Helen is cognizant of her tastes, and for her, there is no necessity to busy herself with avocado toast or succulents or whatever the children like nowadays. Although we see a re-emergence of her style in fashion, Aunt Helen will continue to be unaware that her egg chair today is priced at a huge amount of money on eBay.

Aunt Helen represents the fourth of our biggest hurdles in life: irrelevance. If Aunt Helen never adjusts herself to the novelties of new times, she is destined to lose a lot more than merely a good taste of style. 

We can count several reasons behind people’s being so reactive to transformation. To begin with, people can never desire something they never tried. In the course of getting aged, the novelty starts to lose value in the eyes of people. Their brains are linked in order to favor the things with which they are familiar. 

One other cause of this is that the more successful you are in life, be it professional or private, the less probable it is for you to desire to interfere with it. Your methods in life have paid off very well for you, then what’s the reason for a change?

Maybe the most essential thing, however, is that transformation is very highly difficult. It is likely to commit embarrassing blunders or experience something painful – which doesn’t amount to mere falling off an electric scooter. 

However, a life that doesn’t involve transformation is one involving regret. The more you are unable to catch up with the times, the more difficult it is to establish strong relationships with people who are not nearest to you. It is likely that it’ll cause you to deal with the sense of loneliness and isolation.

Fortunately, if you transform more, this will come as easier. However, where should we begin? 

One thing that is necessary is a mission. Adopt a mission that surpasses than you, that has the capacity to keep you concentrated on over different times. If there is a good cause to adhere to, it’ll make you crave to remain up-to-date; consequently, it’ll be possible to utilize contemporary language to deliver your message. Well, should you desire that your mission has an effect on people in the contemporary atmosphere, it is necessary to take the temperature from time to time.

Chapter 5 – Pride is extremely deleterious, however, it is possible to lessen it by developing humility. 

Do you recall that research concerning narcissistic teens who considered themselves as “very significant”? We can straightforward detect that these teens are victims of pride – which constitutes the fifth of our seven big hurdles. However, actually, many people are the victims of pride, to some extent. You’re among them as well.

In its origin, pride means being busy with one’s self more than anything else. Pride follows mainly from being insecure. Those who feel pride are always making comparisons with themselves and others, gauging how they are in comparison with them. They gauge their self-esteem after their latest achievement or failure. Maybe the most terrible thing is that people with pride are unable to find happiness in another person’s success. The success of a peer, or occasionally of someone very dear to us, indicates they lost. 

What is the way of changing this?

Unless restrained, pride results in a loss of friendly and kind feelings. Prideful people become immunized against good advice and consider that the rules aren’t applicable to you. Eventually, pride will cause the deterioration of your dearest relationships and even possible scandals when you occupy a leadership position. Pride is the thing that has managers steal from their company, or politicians have sexual relationships with campaign assistants.

As stated by The Bible, pride precedes a fall. Usually, a fall is conceived as humiliation. However, what is humiliation unless it is unintentional humility? 

This is an important thing to fight pride. Humility is the thing that is important to utilize and practice, to defend ourselves against the loneliness and hardened heart that can be brought about because of pride. 

It is possible to actively watch your humility in these ways: For starters, always keep your gratitude. Those with pride think they brag about their achievement or the good things in their life. However, great leaders mention their luckiness. They are aware that their success doesn’t solely lean on them. 

The next thing to do is to have your mind ready for new things. When you became aware that you don’t have knowledge about everything, there will be a lot more chances for you to have new possibilities to learn, be it from a textbook or someone behind you in the queue at the coffee shop. If you are open to discovering new stuff, you’ll start being aware that you in fact haven’t got much knowledge.

Ultimately, be extremely frank to yourself. Among all the lies people tell, those they tell themselves are the most dangerous. Others around you are most likely able to already recognize your flaws. Then what prevents you from acknowledging them? After doing this, it’ll be possible for you to begin making efforts to enhance them.

Chapter 6 – Healing after burnout demands patience and assistance from others.

At the age of 40, Carey talked about a very important thing at North Point Church, brought into reality by a mentor of his in Alpharetta, Georgia. Carey was so happy after his mentor and family said to him that his speech was just perfect.

In this society, those who are devoted to working are held in high esteem, and the same thing also went for Carey. Carey had toiled a lot to get ready, and that time constituted the climax of his professional life. However, after giving the speech, he wasn’t glowing with joyfulness. Actually, after the speech, he experienced the most terrible several months of his life. He was far from his productive days and found himself in a severe depression. He was even thinking about killing himself. 

Carey became sick because of a particular modern illness, which is the sixth of our seven biggest hurdles: burnout.

You can identify burnout through its various indications. In the case of Carey, it occurred mainly by the disappearance of passion and a diminishment in the intensity of the feelings. He wasn’t moved by anything now, and after sleeping or having a time off, he wasn’t getting a sense of satisfaction or reinvigoration. 

He was getting too much tired after doing little stuff and inordinately sensitive because of little stuff. He was unable to concentrate on anything for a long time, and consequently, he was nowhere near to his previous productive days; but still, he continued to treat himself with more tasks. 

Carey sensed that he was being affected by cynicism, and the worst thing is that he wasn’t able to recall when he had laughed. 

When you think you have these indications or someone dear to you has them, the most useful thing to do is to see a physician. Doctors will assist you to understand how grave your signs are. After this, see a Christian counselor to assist you in addressing the spiritual problem at the core of your burnout. 

Carey was able to pull through his burnout thanks to the assistance of physicians, counselors, family, friends, and co-workers who provided him with the means and space necessary for him to recuperate. When you see that you’ve got a burnout and want to get through it, it is necessary to have a group of reliable friends to help you during the process. 

Stay patient: feeling good will take time until when you’ve had adequate rest. Moreover, while being patient to regain your health, you shouldn’t attempt to reach any huge decisions. Allow your mind to concentrate on only recuperating. 

The most important lesson Carey got while regaining his health from burnout was to work on his health daily. Carey’s objective nowadays is to live each day in such a way that that will assist him to thrive tomorrow.

Chapter 7 – Having a lot of items won’t help you get through a sense of void. However, deciding on a mission that is important for you will. 

Considering that Carey has written a couple of popular books, you won’t be surprised that writing is one of the most favorite hobbies of his. He owns a blog that has been active for a very long time and it makes him quite merry many days. 

In 2015, a post he shared on his blog drew about 500,000 a million thousand readers 24 hours after its publication. This achievement made him utterly thrilled. But he remained so for a while. What he felt lasted for a brief time. Soon later, Carey encountered the seventh and last big hurdle in life: emptiness.

Most people believe it would be possible for them to be happy were they to be able to obtain a novel level of something. Be it more achievement in your job, more salary, a more solid relationship, or a more recent smartphone – Being caught in the trap giving us more happiness is simple.

Having a lot of things, indeed, result in happiness. However, this doesn’t last long. After a point, having more doesn’t make you happy – you want better. Ultimately, after having consumed that better, you want something distinct. In order to get that something distinct, you give up the better you’ve got and wind up having a feeling of emptiness.

Feeling empty usually happens following a zenith, as in Carey’s publication on his popular blog. So as to fight it, people generally undertake two things: toil or cure oneself. Most of us deal with this problem by turning to alcohol or drugs. However, for Christians in Carey’s case, the most usual way of doing this is with food. 

Gluttony and working too much constitute two of the most widespread issues the author has run into in his community. Both may help you be in a good mood for a while, however, they won’t solve the problem of emptiness. 

After getting aware that you’ve begun applying to self-medication, it means the time has come for self-care. Self-care exists in various forms. It changes from one person to another since it relies on every person’s special needs at a specific time. There are people for whom safe-care involves standing up from the couch and go out to walk. There are also people for whom self-care involves driving home and pass their time doing nothing. 

In order to understand what sort of self-care is good for you, pose yourself the following question: What can be useful for me now that will assist me to thrive tomorrow?

Today, stern self-care will be of huge assistance in having you get through your sense of emptiness. However, it will do this only to some extent. Thus, it is necessary to go back to that key objective of yours, which is your mission. 

Find a mission that surpasses you. Devote yourself to a purpose that is truly important to others. While helping others, your life will be satisfied in such a manner that it’ll never run out. 

Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences by Carey Nieuwhof Book Review

The seven biggest hurdles in life consist of cynicism, compromise, disconnection, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness. No matter where you come from, you work at, or what your background is, it is probably for you to encounter one or more of these hurdles one day. Fortunately, you can discover ways in this summary concerning how to surmount them – and have an effect on your community and on people dearest to you. 

Download Pdf


Download Epub



Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

Recent Posts