So often we talk about health as it relates to fitness and nutrition, but could the greatest factor in our health really be our state of mind? We have heard “stress” will kill us but yet that doesn’t stop us from worrying about things. We feel helpless and say we have depression, when we don’t own anything…..we just experience it. Happiness is there for us every day to find and experience, yet most of us get caught up in things that probably won’t even matter in a week…let alone a month or year. Fear and doubt keep from from even reaching higher levels of whatever we may want to achieve in life. Time to stop. No more I say. The past is done and the only thing that matters is the steps we take right now…and every other present moment. Time for us to take control and see what is really going on. Time for some real perspective in life. Anything is possible…and the only thing holding you back is YOU.
No one likes to think about it or hear it, but we have to accept it inorder to move on to the next step. You can’t stop death, you can only try to live as healthy as you can and extend your life. But fearing something that will happen 100% guaranteed is nothing to fear. Why? Because you don’t have control over whether it will happen. You can control perhaps when it may happen by taking preventative measures, but you will not avoid it. Accept it….and now we can move on. There is nothing to fear. The only real fear should be regret….regret of having never really lived with the time you were given.
Now that we are not afraid about it, we can use it. Imagine you have been given a diagnosis from your doctor that you have 1 year to live. Now what perspective does that give you on your life, your job, your ambitions, your relationships. Are there things you never did but always wanted to try? What if your doctor now said “sorry, we mixed up your tests and you are healthy”…now how would you live your life with your new perspective? This is not saying the wisest move is to sell everything you have and go travel until you are broke….but what you decide to do with your life should be based on no regrets (you can be sensible and adventurous at the same time). We are all given a set amount of time here, maybe the real test is to see what we really do with it.
Everything we tend to worry about seems really silly doesn’t it? Worry about grades…traffic….a report for work….what people think of you….our retirement funds…etc. How are these even comparitable to real life threatening situations? How can someone living in a war-torn country have less stress than someone sitting in an office typing on a computer? How can people who seem so poor on the outside have no stress and an abundance of happiness….yet someone with a big house and bank account is unhappy and stressed out all the time? Why are movie stars with nothing to worry about all turning to drugs and alcohol? Something isn’t right here, we need real perspective to help us out. Time to step back and look at our lives from a distance….like you were watching some tv show and you were the main star.
You can plan, you can study, you can save money…but to worry about things that have yet to happen or may never is really a waste of energy. We do this to ourselves too….no one is forcing us to worry, it’s all us. Worry, doubts and fears are all based on things that have not happened….and not what you need to do right now. Really…will most of the stuff you worry about on a daily basis even matter in a year? Will anything you worry about even happen at all?? Probably not.
Humans waste a lot of energy worrying about things. Might get cancer, might go bankrupt. Might marry the wrong person or screw up at the office. Emerging from war, Wildman no longer had these kinds of concerns. At twenty, he’d crawled out of the darkest of pits, and in comparison, 1950s America looked like one big, golden party. Anything was possible. And no matter what went wrong now, it wasn’t likely to result in death.
A great quote from the story found here about the healthiest 75 yr old man. He still is going strong and loving life.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.
My favorite line from the Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford. Here’s a man who did so much with his life, but yet doesn’t sit around or have any self doubt. If he failed, he failed and moved on. That is the secret to anyone that has made it big in the business world, they failed (probably miserably) tons of times….but they didn’t sit around and fear failure or worry that the next time would not turn out great…they just kept going and made things happen.
Be like the surfer pictured above…..do you think he is thinking about how the wave is going to make him crash? Well if he did….he will crash 100% of the time. Don’t fear the wave…as there is nothing to fear. Look at the ocean and sky and enjoy what you have in front of you…..the surfer knows what he needs to do, so he does it with no worry of crashing. Many of us spend too much time looking back at the wave and thinking “what if”….never knowing what great things we are missing out from watching the surf and beach in front of us. Don’t miss out on all life has to offer because you are just worried about failure.
There is no failure….just lack of action. So take action in life. Celebrate effort…not the results.
Time to step back and really get some perspective in our lives. See how much we really have that we may take for granted. Look at others much less fortunate and see what real struggles are. If you have a roof over your head, good health and food on the table….what are you really worrying about? The answer, nothing that serious in the overall scheme of life (maybe it seems important to you, but that is your perspective….only yours….and you control it all with your mind). Our biggest worries could be:
You don’t have to go out and solve poverty or cure cancer to make an impact. The real change has to start within, from there all your actions will come natural and instinctively. We just need to take life one moment at a time and try and help and encourage those we meet along the way. But how can we go through that daily journey if we are a mess on the inside and filled with our own negative energies of doubt, fear, worry, envy, greed, jealousy, etc. We can’t help anyone until we help ourselves and get a better understanding of what real happiness is inside of us.
You don’t own anything….nothing. Detach and be free. We came into this world naked and will leave the same way. Nothing is ours. We may think it is, but nothing we will ever possess physically or mentally will last. Money is probably the biggest stressor, but you don’t own it…it’s not yours. Sure you can have some in a bank account and use it….but it’s not yours to keep forever. Mentally detach from it and realize it’s just a tool, see if your stress is much less now.
Same can be said for feelings of depression, anxiety, doubt, etc. You don’t own them….they are not you. You can experience depression but you are never depressed. To say you are something is to give it ownership, like it a part of who you are. That loss of power will never help you. Tell yourself the next time it happens that you “feel depressed”….and know that it can change. Find the route cause of why you feel that way…..see it…become aware of it….then your attachment to those feelings will drop. You may see that at the route of all those things is just something silly. Detach from it and just move on with your life….it’s not yours yet many carry that luggage around for a long time, time to let go.
The only way we will know how to change, is to first realize it is there in the first place….and the only way to realize it is to become “aware” of it. That is the key to most all zen like teachings, living a life of total awareness…..seeing what is really going on. If we can see ourselves getting silly with fears and doubts, then we can just drop them.
Get a pad of paper and write down daily what you experience. Take it with you. Take notes as you experience any doubt, fear, or whatever. See what is at the cause of it, what are you really worrying about? Is it really anything that needs our energy….considering the only real thing to come along of any consequence is death…and we have already accepted that will happen. Life can be as happy as we want to make it, we just need to be able to become aware of what we need to do to get there. We have all the tools inside of us….nothing on the outside is going to matter….it’s all internal where we need to put our effort. So write down what things, people, activities help you in positive ways…and which ones do not. Get rid of the ones that do not…and then just keep reminding yourself to be in a constant state of awareness and try to laugh off the things that really don’t matter….which is probably most all things we stress out about daily.
Anything is possible….If you believe you can do it. It may not come easy…it may not come all at once….it may not come when you want it to….but focus on taking action…and something will happen….lack of action guarantees failure 100% of the time…or as Wayne Gretsky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Take action, become aware of everything in the present moment that you feel and act…and enjoy the journey. Stress, doubt and worry are wasted and useless energies….time to get rid of them.