“I thought complaining made me appear sensitive, insightful, and intelligent.” I actually read this confession in a Carlos Castaneda book. But, unfortunately, he is not the only one who has held this erroneous belief. From reading Facebook and blog posts, it seems most people believe it, or else they don’t care if others know how petty and immature they are.
Sub-consciously, I must have believed complaining sounded smart too, because I certainly never missed an opportunity to populate the airspace with my static. It took massive energy to learn to check my negativity at the door and keep conversations productive, but what a difference it made…for those who had to listen to me.
Having been stuck in the first circle many times, I know first hand that these thoughts never lead to an exit. They continue to keep us in the circle, driving us deeper into despair. As in a real traffic circle, unless one moves into a turn lane and chooses an exit, there is no escape.
Productive reasoning is not positive thinking. It is allowing my mind do what it does best: solve problems.
In the first circle, I render my mind unproductive by telling it to stop looking for an exit. Each of the statements in the first circle tell my mind to do just that.
IYAD = If you always do
WYAD = What you always did
YAG = You always get
WYAG = What you always got
Tired of unproductive?
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
This Longfellow sentiment beautifully expresses hope for aging…but so much more.
I’ve found that my assessment of what is valuable and what is not frequently turns out to be utterly flawed.
Last week I had congratulated myself for being immensely productive and efficient when, in fact, everything I had done required redoing or undoing.
Today, as I prepare for a day confined to bed rest, I remember that this does not have to limit my productivity.
Opportunities wear disguises.
Wait for the stars to appear in the night sky.