We Can Choose Our Attitude
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” — Albert Einstein
How would you describe your life right now? Are you surviving from day-to-day or thriving? I don’t intend to underscore your troubles, but help you gain an insight into your current situation. It takes courage to take an introspective look at ourselves, particularly when we don’t like what we see.
Most people never take this journey because highlighting their shortfalls threatens their self-esteem. The problem is that we stay stuck and stagnant, without growing and advancing. I’m certain if you’re reading this article, you’re not that person. You’re not the person to rest on your laurels because something inside of you identifies with growth and expansion.
Even if you don’t know how to improve your life, you recognise you are not satisfied. If you are not thriving in areas of your life, what is the cause? Honestly, what do you believe is holding you back from achieving your potential in this area?
You might think it is external factors such as the economy, being dealt unforeseen circumstances or something else. I’m not discounting these factors, but we can still choose our attitude and rise above our difficulties.
Do you agree? Do you feel some people are dealt an easy hand, while others have it tough? Be careful how you answer because this is a belief that may impede your growth. Perhaps there’s a reason some people face more difficulties than others. They might be called to serve a greater cause through their purpose.
Life Is Not A Problem To Be Solved
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell
I don’t know your particular story to comment about it, but having coached hundreds of people over the years, I have observed a common theme in many of people’s lives. Those who excel come from unfortunate backgrounds. Some were abused as children; others lost loved ones when they are young. Some experience illness they eventually recover from.
It is why I am drawn to the quote by the motivational speaker Jim Rohn, who said: “The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.”
Life is subject to pain, disappointment and suffering. Some of us suffer more than others, but it is our attitude or what Jim Rohn calls: the setting of the sails that determines our direction in life. It is whether we choose to bounce back from our setbacks and grow from those experiences.
Life is about growth and expansion, and we cannot stop the process any more than interrupting daylight break in the morning. Life weaves her wisdom of impermanence and change throughout our lives, and we can retreat into despair or accept the challenges.
Sometimes we bemoan our experience and believe we are unfairly treated. Feeling victimised does not change reality or our beliefs about it. Life doesn’t care whether we think it is fair. It is not a factor, because fairness is not what life is.
A better question to ask is: what am I being called to learn about this situation? Where is the growth in this challenge? Whom do I need to become to see this situation differently? We’ve got to change our thinking and stop believing life is being imposed upon us.
Life is not happening to us, as much is it is happening for us. When we change how we look at things, the things we look at begin to change. This was the underlying message from the American author, Dr Wayne Dyer.
It is the understanding; life is not a problem to be solved, but to be experienced from the level of the soul. Life is a sea of contrast, and we can choose how we view our difficulties. We can see them through the lens of pain and disappointment or growth and expansion.
It takes a certain mindset to adopt this way of thinking. It doesn’t happen overnight and with enough pain and heartache, we eventually learn that life is pulling the strings and we are a tiny speck in a vast universe, constantly contracting and expanding.
A Flexible Mind Is A Thriving Mind
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw
I often remind coaching clients when they are overwhelmed by their difficulties, to get on Google Earth and appreciate their problems from a distance. It requires stepping back and recognising life isn’t being done to us but expanding through us.
Are you getting the sense that surviving and thriving are different mindsets? If we want to move from one to the other, we must be flexible in our thinking. We need to expand our understanding of our problems and look at them through the lens of growth and opportunity.
A flexible mind is a mind open to change, which is the one thing that flows throughout life. We cannot resist change, otherwise we become stuck and victimised. Life is doing what it does; expanding and contracting.
Given we are the substance of life, we ought to allow it to flow through us instead of running away from our problems. We both know it never works out well when we run away from our difficulties.
With this in mind, I invite you to consider the questions I asked you in the opening paragraph. Sit for 10 — 15 minutes and journal your honest answers to the questions. Approach the exercise as though you were confiding in someone you trust. Here, that someone is your private journal.
Try to get a sense of what is holding you back from thriving. Don’t try to find a solution yet, because that will come when you are open-minded. The key is to identify the problem, and a solution will be borne out of it in due course. Ultimately, a flexible mind is a thriving mind