We often move through life, as if going through an algorithm. We expect a certain result as follow-up to any given input. And we try to define our course of action, as if there are no variables.
This is because we seek comfort by trying to plan things neatly, and many of us – including myself, pleading “guilty as charged” here! – are over-optimisers, often overthinking everything in order to achieve an “optimal” wished-for result.
However, things might well take a course of their own and there are too many “variables” at play that are outside our control, including the overlapping actions and plans of others. Luckily, I would say, as otherwise life would be way too predictable and dull.
Indeed, life is less of an “exact science” and far more of an “improvisation”, comparable with arts. Look around! We are surrounded by “miracles” with each new day, and beauty is everywhere for the beholder to capture.
To me, if there is a Goddess/God, She/He is the ultimate Artist.
For us busy bees roaming around, the best approach lies in the middle. The trick is keeping a good “balance” so that:
– While we shall not give up planning altogether and shall make mindful choices, with a view of improving our life and the lives of those around us,
– We shall also be open to the “unplanned” little events popping up along our way – And welcome them as refreshing changes to our daily routines.
Doesn’t it feel better letting go of needing to always be the one in control? And, after all, isn’t life itself an adventure with an open ending?
And the best thing is, that despite all of the uncertainties and many “variables” we stumble across, we are all going through our lives anyway! Because life is a lot like water: Its “fluctuations”, far from being the exceptions, are inherent parts of it.
Zooming out of the little corners we might put ourselves into, and shifting our perspective to the bigger picture…
Whenever stuck by thousand doubts and fears about doing, or not doing something, try shifting your perspective:
– Move your starting point from “shall I do it?”…
– To “why not”?
Simply change your “default”.
After all, we are those infinitely little beings living just for the blink of an eye on an old-old planet, which is somehow “magically” rotating on its own axis and around the sun, while suspended in an endless cosmos, among billions of other far-far away planets and stars.
We are all minute particles of matter – Like stardust.
The question is:
Will over-rationalising and over-magnifying every decision bring us that much farther in the bigger scheme of life?
Why not… Zooming out a bit, for a change?
Is there any good reason why we might not just “go with the flow” and enjoy ourselves by trying something new?
You know the answer already, right?
Well, if not just for the “fun of trying” (which should always be a good standing reason in its own right!), when choosing to embrace the “daring”, instead of the “fearful self,” we might eventually be surprised with how much we can “get away with,” despite of and in the face of our own feelings of foreboding.
Seriously, it is worth shot!
The true is, we won’t know anyway where anything is leading us in the end… Unless we try it.
The realisation that most of our fears are unfounded, and that we shall act in spite of them, defines the line of our own freedom.
– In our head, the fear might still be there.
– But in our lives, we can always choose whether to act on it and let the fear stop us, or to break the “chain” it holds on us!
Freedom starts where fear ends.
By recognising and believing in the magic, you turn on the light and dissolve the shadows.
Stop Waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Light that b**tch yourself!
Well, let’s do a little “time-shifting” experiment here, shall we?
OK, close your eyes…oh wait, you cannot read with your eyes closed! So, keep your eyes open and read the next steps here…
Think about something in the past that you were really afraid of or worried about…
– Since we seem to be constantly bombarded by the cautions and fears of those around us, I guess this won’t take long.
– It could be anything, from fearing a “tantrum” from your boss, because you are late; to worrying that the world might collapse, if you are not immediately checking and responding to all incoming messages…
I am sure we are not lacking imagination on any other “disastrous” scenario!
For my part, here my personal contribution with a couple of “funny” and “crazy” examples – To the point of unveiling the absurdity and complete irrationality of most of our fears:
1.1 – Funny example:
My partner and I decided to replace the conventional tradition of exchanging material gifts with the new, now highly honoured tradition of taking some time off to go explore a new place in the world.
The motto is:
Collect memories, not things.
Fill your life with experience.
Have stories to tell, rather than stuff to just show.
Given that we both share a certain passion for surfing, almost no trip goes “wasted” without some salty water in search of fun, amateur-friendly waves, preferably where good weather can be relied upon, too.
For my most recent birthday, just before heading to Portugal, to get prepared, I checked the weather widget on my phone for “Lisbon” and…
Fifteen degrees, tops, and a week of steady rain?! And at the end of the summer season?
No way! It would have been warmer at home in Germany.
I could not believe it, and neither could my partner, nor any of the compassionate fellow surfers with whom we shared our forthcoming “cruel fate”.
After two days of grumbling, however, a sudden realisation popped up in my mind. Can it be…?
Picking up my phone again, the embarrassing mistake was staring right back at me: I had mistyped “Lisbon” – So I was looking at was “Lisburn,” in Northern Ireland!
Basically, I “wasted” days feeling bad for nothing – Just over a typo!
1.2 – Crazy example:
I have always felt “terrorised” by wasps. Not for any good reason, as I have never been stung by those feisty little creatures, not even as a “feisty” child myself! And I am not allergic to wasps’ venom – Yes, in a shameless attempt to self-justify and validate my fears, I even got myself tested!
Indeed, this was a completely “crazy” fear, prompting me into pirouetting around each time a wasp headed in my general direction, instead of keeping cool and waiting for the little pestering being to move on.
And then one day, as I was walking into a yoga class in Nusa Lembongan, a little island next to Bali, I read the “message of the day” aptly displayed on the blackboard:
If a bee lands of you, smile!
That means, it is taking you for a delicate flower.
It is always a matter of perspective – And the one we choose determines how we decide to react.
To proceed in our little self-experiment, when looking back to such experiences, we shall ask ourselves:
– Were the fears we were hassling ourselves over justified? Did anything bad really happen?
– Or could we have “spared” ourselves all those self-made troubles?
I bet that when looking back, chances are that more often than not those fears were completely unjustified:
– Either because nothing at all happened – no disaster struck us, no thunder, no apocalyptical end;
– Or because we got barely touched by it, and at the end we might even have gotten away with a gift!
Perhaps your boss was even later than you were, or she/he did not even notice you landing at your desk smoothly as a cat!
In fact, you might even have spared yourself some tedious tasks that she/he went head and did her/himself. Or gave to someone else altogether – Remember the aforementioned gift? This is it!
P.S. Little “disclaimer” here: We shall not make being late a habit, given that time is one of the most valuable things we have and should indeed be respected for ourselves and for others.
Bottom line is, to learn from this, we shall maintain a “log,” writing down each instance:
– When we first felt scared or worried about something,
– which eventually turned out to be completely or greatly harmless.
Let’s go ahead and call it our “fear-free log of wisdom”!
Next time a fear begins clouding our thoughts, we shall remember the lessons we have learned and shall clear our mind.
3) Proven point is:
There is hardly ever a good reason to be in fear.
Because beyond any particular situation, a paradigm to be always relied upon is that:
– Our fears as such only play in an “imaginary” self-projected future.
– They only have the power we give them when casting a shadow in our present.
In the worst-case scenario, when worrying too much, our fear ends up consuming the energy we much need to eventually face the situation!
Worrying is antithetical to actually dealing with something.
How many times we spent the night worrying about something so much that, when it happened, we were left without the power to really deal with it?
Our fears have only the power we give them.
It is always our choice whether:
– We decide to let your fears define our boundaries, or
– Act in spite of them, and redefine your own limits.
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
And decided to go forward anyway
– Courage is not the absence of fear (no, that would be idiocy),
– but the choice to act and go ahead anyway!
It all depends on who you decide to listen to within yourself:
Pride says “it is impossible”;
Experience says “it is risky”;
Reason says “it is pointless”;
Heart whispers “give it a try”…
Now it is up to you – who will you listen to, and who will you choose to BE?