by: Willie Horton
So many people struggle against things that they can do nothing about. So many people become upset or annoyed about things over which they have no control. And oh so few people take control of the one thing in life over which they can exercise absolute and total control. Like puppets, we allow our mood to be pulled up or down in tandem with the ups and downs of life.
But the downs – or even just the “not-too-bads” – that we encounter are what they are. These things are sent to try us and most of us are found wanting. Like everything else in life – in fact, like everything else in the universe – all the trying times, events or people that we encounter in our lives will pass. Everything arises and passes away. And, if we do encounter circumstances that are not to our liking then, on the basis that they will pass, we simply need to knuckle down and get on with whatever it is that we’re actually supposed to be doing. At the very least, make the best of a bad lot! It is what it is!
Of course, however, we should not put up with ongoing problems that we can actually do something about – although often praised a great human gift, one of our major Achilles Heels can be our resilience – our ability to put up with almost anything. But there are things that we can do about ongoing intolerable situations – if your job is truly awful to the extent that no amount of mental self-discipline will enable you focus on just seeing it through, then you’re the one who needs to move on and, if you do, like everything else in life, it will have passed. If you don’t then the consequences are the result of your own inactions. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship to the extent that no amount of tolerance or resilience will see you through, move on. Again, if you don’t, your problems are now partly of your own making. If you do, for your own sake, don’t repeat the same mistakes – something that I’ve often come across when working with clients.
But beyond the ongoing chronic pain such as the foregoing that so many normal people unwillingly and constantly put up with, the vast majority of downs in life are no more than minor irritations in the greater scheme of things – stones in our shoe or an itch – they will pass. In addition, the vast majority of those minor irritations are neither of our own making nor do we exercise any control over them, so there is absolutely no point in doing anything other than rolling with the punches and getting on with the things that relate to what’s important in life – wholeheartedly. Of course, on the other hand, if some of these minor irritations are, indeed, of your own making – through either act or omission on your part – then more fool you, you’d better to the needful.
But what about the one thing in life over which you can exercise total control? Well, everyone, no matter how apparently desperate, can choose their state of mind. It doesn’t matter what is going on around you, you should be the master of your own mind. In fact, you already are. But, unfortunately, more normally by omission – we already have chosen our state of mind or, more correctly, we’ve let our subconscious mind automatically make the choice for us. In other words, most of us, not knowing any better, have already allowed our state of mind to be as variable as Irish weather – all four seasons can arrive in one day! By default, we allow ourselves be tugged upwards when good things happen, dragged downwards when things aren’t going our way. If you fall into this category, again, more fool you. Grab a hold of your state of mind. Choose to be calm, focused and present.
More easily said than done? Not at all – we all have an innate ability to give our full attention to the task in hand – the fact that we don’t normally do that is both beside the point and a function of the normal manner in which normal people automatically go through each day. Break up the rhythm of your day – because that rhythm is killing you. Change your routine, do little habitual things differently. As you go through your day make choices in relation to these little things over which you have total control and you will soon realize that, moment to moment, you have a choice. Exercise that choice, set aside a few minutes each day to “smell the roses”, to really focus your mind on what’s before your very eyes. Yes, your mind will wander. Yes the cares of today will niggle at you but stick with it for a few minutes because, if you do choose to pay attention to the reality of the here and now for even a few minutes, it will become startlingly obvious to you that everything in life arises and passes away and that this moment is what it is.
Copyright (c) 2010 Willie Horton
|About The Author
Willie Horton has been a Personal Development expert since 1996 – working with top leaders in major organizations. An Irish ex-accountant, ex-banker, published author and keynote speaker, he travels the world, from his home in the French Alps, enabling people “live the dream”. All his work – including his acclaimed Personal Development Workshop – is now online at http://www.gurdy.net