If I just live each day as it passes rather than in fear or resistance of what might happen, I win.
Either way the future goes, I win.
If what I want to happen happens, I will not have wasted my time worrying.
If what I fear happens, I will learn and grow and become stronger (or I will die, which no amount of worrying will prevent). So, I may as well face whatever the future holds with a smile and be heroically sexy. (Courage and power and joy are very attractive.)
The alternatives are the antithesis of sexy:
- self absorption
I choose the attractive, sexy hero option.
“‘Soulshine’ is better than sunshine, better than moonshine…” -The Allman Brothers Band
Where do I get Soulshine?
- smiling at the future
- delighting in others
- laughing at myself
- giving and forgiving
- I forget to delight in the people and things around me.
2. I start to compare my situation to others. I begin to envy, pity myself, or focus on petty inconveniences.
3. I start to want things I don’t have.
4. I lose my inner light and strength. I become dark and common.
“Some day I will be able to ___________________________ or, I will begin today to _________________________________.”
“It takes time to forgive someone, or today I will refuse to play the victim, and begin to forgive.”
“I know I am unhappy with my life, but I don’t have the _______________ (courage, money, time) to change my life, or today I will start taking baby steps toward my goal.”
“Someday I will be healthier and run a marathon, or today I will begin by walking around my neighborhood.”
“One day I will be happier, or today I will live with joy and gratitude for what I already have.”
“One day someone will love me and change my life, or today I will be my own hero, I will love myself and change my life.”
This quote reminds of the need to recognize my own mystery and possibilities. I seldom associate a drop of water with a majestic ocean or a devastating flood, yet each seemingly insignificant drop has magnificent properties and the imprint of power.
If I want to live as peacefully and as powerfully as water, I must
- surrender to the mystery
- never underestimate my complexity and beauty (and that of others)
- value my connection to the whole
- appreciate my uniqueness and impact (and that of others)
- change willingly and as easily as water changes to ice or vapor
Said no one.
Yet, learning to welcome criticism is a fast-track to happiness.
To avoid anxiety, indigestion, depression, frustration, fits of anger, revenge, and sleepless nights, learn to be friends with criticism. Because…
- regardless of how right or good we are, others will always misunderstand, disagree, and (inadvertently or purposely) taunt
- criticism is ubiquitous; an international pastime
- criticism reveals gaps in our knowledge
- accepting criticism takes humility and one can’t get enough of that
Self-acceptance conquers the pain of criticism.
This quote seems a bit radical, but after reflecting on it, I found reason to believe it.
Humility equals wisdom because it allows us to:
- discover wisdom well beyond our own personal limitations
- acknowledge that we don’t know as much as we think we know
- appreciate mystery
- listen better
- surrender our illusion of being wise
T. S. Eliot was a pretty smart guy. Mostly because he was a humble inquirer.
“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
― T.S. Eliot
Tim Ferriss passed this quote along in his Five-Bullet Friday email. It is an important quote for me to remember.
So often I review my day with disdain for the smallness of my existence rather than with a smile at the useful things I did, the courageous things I said (or the chicken-shit things I didn’t say), and the amazing beauty I was privileged to see, hear, or touch.
My wish for myself and others is that we would believe this quote enough to stop chasing an image of success that sucks the life out of those useful, courageous, and beautiful moments.
Possible reasons why we make too much of “that long groan which underlines the past”…
- We haven’t forgiven ourselves for being human
- We haven’t forgiven others for being human
- We are reliving our pain, slights, and failures over and over again
- We are not counting it all as training for our future
- We are taking ourselves way too seriously
- We do not comprehend how little time we have left
- We have a pattern of whining, blaming, and complaining
Now, I am ready to erase that groan at the past with a smile for the future.
“How will I survive?” or “How will I be successful?” are the wrong questions. The important question is, “How can I be useful?”
Jim Collins was speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners in this quote, yet it has critical application to our personal lives.
While working on a suicide-crisis line, I met countless people driven toward suicide because of these two wrong questions just as the questions had reeked havoc in my own journey.
How can I be useful? is my new mantra.
Shifting to a simple surrender of our assets to meet needs around us restores momentum and sanity.
Fear-based decision making will always drive us off course.