Like many of us I spent too much time of my life worrying, furious about the inability to accept things as they are.
Anger, frustration, sadness, helplessness – If I read through my diary from only a decade ago, not to even mention the stuff I wrote, when I was between 15 and 19, these emotional states described myself more than anything else.
I was an angry young man. I felt treated unfairly by pretty much everyone, my dad, for not caring enough, my mom for just having disappeared from my life, German childhood for treating me like someone who doesn’t belong here, friends for abandoning me, when I needed them most, girls for only wanting to be friends not lovers. The usual crap. Its probably the easiest way to navigate to through the hustle of life, if things aren’t just perfect all the time, which they never are, as we all know.
So, all this was about making decisions.
Whether or not I wanted to accept my role as the victim, whether or not I would pay attention only to those things that would make me feel so alone and desperate. Whether or not I would start all these bad habits to numb the pain, to run away or to face the situations as they were, seeking the beauty in the mess, embracing the school of life as something that would make me a strong, happy, free spirit somewhere down that bumpy road called life. And here I am today.
The endings of the stories I write have changed.
My perspective on life has changed. I have changed myself for the sake of getting all the bullshit out of my way, that stops me from being who, what and where I always wanted to be. Right here. Right now. Writing these words.
It has been a long journey though, and this text isn’t designed to answer all these questions. The purpose of these lines is, to share some inspiration on how we can overcome these frustrations, that I still see everyday around me. And of course, I’m not free of all the attachments, I am not resolved in the ocean of wisdom, I am still a student and it helps my own transformation, to write about it, as well as it will trigger something in you, in case you are prepared to invest a few minutes of your precious lifetime to read these words.
Reading words of others, who have found solutions on similar issues, simple techniques for complex processes or just smart and inspiring reflections on heavy thoughts have helped me a lot. Thats why I keep bothering my friends with all these books and authors, and thats why I am bothering you right now as well 🙂
For example, from Stephen Covey I have learned to differentiate between the circle of concern and the circle of influence.
Its a very simple idea, that has changed the way I think entirely. I spent so much time thinking (and cursing) about things I couldn’t control, like politics, celebrities, weather or which decisions the company I worked for made, while I actually couldn’t change any of that. At the same time, I forgot to think about those levers I have in my life, to change myself or to impact the environment around me following my own masterplan. Look around you – how many people do you know who always complain about things they can’t change and how little they actually pro-actively do, to change things they are capable to change?
Another idea I have discovered is to be able to use an invisible reset button, to start fresh, no matter where I am, which situation I am in.
I have learned this as part of the positivity challenge, described in Jevan Prada’s „The Awakened Ape“. The positivity challenge is about staying within your positivity mindset for seven consecutive days. The challenge is, to not get lost in emotional insights of whatever kind, to not enter the struggle of fighting with whatever life is offering you, but seeing the positive side in everything that happens. This idea taught me, that I make the decision myself, whether something appears evil, sad or scary, or if things/people/situations have something in me to learn, grow and win. So instead of being a victim, I become the actor, the author of the story, I would like to read about my life. So, i have tried it, staying positive for seven consecutive days and boy, how I failed. At first, I had to start ver every second hour. So many little things I freaked out about. An email from a colleague, the puppy peeing in the living rom, my girlfriend coming late for dinner (or being furious that I came late for anything). So many things to be upset about. All in one day, in one hour – how should I resist in getting frustrated for one single day, not to mention a whole week? After probably one Month of trying, I am now having a 10 days streak. Whatever bothers me seriously for more than one minute, is killing my vibe, is related to myself and has nothing to do with others. That one minute is the threshold – the positivity challenge has to start again. And again. And again. Until I learned to let go of these things emotionally in less than a minute.
„This isn’t for me, the other car driver is just having a bad day and is under severe time pressure – poor him – thats why is honking me off the green light after 0.5 seconds“ vs „This asshole should be put in a freaking cell for a week and taught some fuckin decency“
„The teacher of my kid has a purpose of making these kids happy grownups, which is why he makes these rules and sticks to it“ vs „Who the hell does she think she is, to tell my boy to draw his beautiful picture again, since it she didn’t like it? Why did she become a teacher and not a stupid, irrelevant arts critic?“
That kind of stuff – you catch my drift.
While the obvious finding here is to change these emotional outbursts into something positive for myself and others, the real insight lies in the detail. In the idea that I can start fresh, every second, with every breath, with every day.
And that it is never too late to try. So – here we go. It is October first – 10-01. Couldn’t be a better point in time to start something fresh, right?
Also, please consider Shunryu Suzuki’s best selling handbook „Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind“ to be the third essential book recommendation as part of this post. But I am very confident, you have already heard of it… <3