Today is the first day of my four week vacation and the rain is pouring down outside. Good thing that we all have that internal sunshine that shines through whenever we are fine with wherever we are.
And truth be told, reading a book accompanied by the gentle taps of raindrops on the window pane, having nowhere else to go really is a piece of heaven for me.
Anyway, this time I’m pondering our history. Not the kind where we want to know what year Columbus ”discovered” America, but rather our own personal past. What is your relationship to it? Does what has passed affect you emotionally? How far removed from it do you have to be for it not to? If you can’t see it in you rear-view mirror does it have an effect on your ability to drive?
My guess is that a little time invested thinking about these things will allow you to let more of your best self shine through. Or, at the very least, feel good even when things don’t work out quite as well as you had hoped…
Make Your Life a Masterpiece,
Quote of the month
" The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. "
- Winston Churchill
The Euro Cup is well into the quarterfinals. Sweden got ousted by England and didn’t even get that far. England lost yesterday on penalties to Italy. I don’t know how interested you are, but since soccer is the biggest sport in the world most people have some interest in their respective national teams. Some to the point of feeling really bad if their team loses. More than a few even lash out in violence because they ”care” so much.
To me, whose job it is to study the mental aspects of our human experience, this is fascinating. Because part of our culture is that we believe that we can show how much we care by how bad we feel when things don’t go our way. To the degree that a player could be “benched” for not being upset enough by an easy mistake. He or she obviously doesn’t have their heart in it so they’re in need of a wake-up call.
This weird way of looking at behavior is not in any way reserved for sports. We also seem to think that we can rate the depth of our love by the depth of our sorrow. I mean, if someone would look happy to soon after their loved ones passing they obviously couldn’t really have loved them that much, right?
This way of thinking permeates our thinking in the work place too. It’s like we think we have to feel stressed or get really worked up about the importance of things to get them done quickly. When in fact it’s much more likely that we miss important details when we are not thinking clearly. Being late in the morning we run out to the car only to find that we have forgot the car keys. We rush into the house and get them and now we wonder where we put the cell phone. When we finally get going we are desperately going through the most important tasks of the day – and we miss our exit on the motorway…
Or we think that we have to have strong negative feelings and a racing heart to prove that we care. That idea is so firmly ingrained in us that if someone remains calm when things go wrong others might get upset and say: How can you be so calm?! As if there was something wrong with someone who don’t get angry, sad or stressed out of their mind when “bad” things happen.
It’s as if the underlying true reasons for our ability to perform are hidden to us. That we just don’t seem to realize the connection between our state of mind and our performance. That our ability flows up and down with our current moods. If someone has come that far in their understanding they usually miss the connection between their moods and their thoughts. The fact that anything we feel are coming from our thoughts.
To me, that’s one of the biggest discoveries that a human being can make. The ramifications of that insight are truly awesome as it has the potential to eradicate the impact of 95% of our negative feelings. A bold statement but in my experience it holds true since very few of them has anything to do with what’s happening in the moment.
Here’s an example: Have you ever felt bad about something that actually happened a while ago? Probably, since my guess is that most of the stuff that people in general feel bad about come from that category. What you said or shouldn’t have said. What you did or didn’t do. How others are behaving or not behaving.
However, the truth is indisputable. Anything that has happened is over! The only reason it might still make us feel anything is because we are holding the memory of it in our minds. But a memory is only a thought that we choose to carry to the present moment by giving it our focused energy. It’s not real. If we truly understand that it can no longer cause any bad feelings.
This is true no matter if something happened a second ago or if it was 20 years ago. It’s still over. Naturally, we can learn from it, but its power to affect us emotionally is lost in the same instance we see that all that we are now feeling are our thoughts about what happened. We are not feeling what actually happened, it only seemed that way.
I’m not saying that though things don’t happen. Of course they do, and they happen to us all. Our loved ones die. Homes are destroyed and economies of entire countries tumble with dire consequences. All I’m saying is that if it’s affecting you emotionally after the fact it’s not the event doing it – it’s your thoughts about the event.
Obviously, this goes for future events as well. You can ponder their effects and prepare yourself. You can choose to say yes or no to doing whatever you think might have negative consequences. But if you feel bad about it in advance you’re reacting to your thoughts about it. Because it hasn’t happened yet. The reason we are able to get our hearts racing about it is that we think it is real just because we are the ones who are thinking it.
It’s my hope that this can assist you in some way to have a better relationship with your thoughts. If that improves, due to an elevated level of understanding, you will be able to involve yourself fully in just about anything to best of your ability. Learn from it, enjoy it and realize that it’s over in the same moment it’s done. Which in turn leaves you in the best possible state of mind to handle the next “now” and look to the future with natural confidence. At work. In your relationships. Even after an important soccer game has gone “wrong”;-)
Slowing Down to the Speed of Life
by Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey
This is one of those rare gems of a book hat everyone should read. Reason being that it gives you an understanding of the very underpinning of our experience of life. It will give you insights while you’re reading and they will pop up into your mind afterwards as well. Insights that will increase your ability to enjoy life and perform better no matter what you have chosen to do. So, do yourself the greatest of services and get this book, read it and notice how your experience of life transforms…
You can find more books under Suggested Reading
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As an integral part of living my vision "to inspire, educate and make a difference in enough peoples private and professional lives to make a positive difference in the world", I write and distribute a free monthly coaching letter. In these I share various ideas, thoughts and insights that I think can be of value for all of you who are interested in getting the absolute best out of life.Read more