Archive for January, 2013

Moods

Your mood is as much a cause as an effect. It can be manipulated in your favor. This is not just some therapist psycho-babble, though there is a significant psychological aspect. It’s also physiological. Quantum physics and biology have shown that our neural networks are able to rearrange themselves according to the emotions we feel and experiences we have on a daily basis. If we experience anger and despair often, our neural networks will adapt to provide more of the chemicals that cause these emotions. Similarly, if we manage to control our thoughts and maintain more of a positive outlook on a daily basis, more favorable arrangements will be made.

“Control our thoughts…” There is the problem. If we could do that life would be a lot easier. When our thoughts are dark on a regular basis we do seem to recognize a lot of it is in our heads. These patterns of thought and mood we live with are likely forged at a very young age by factors we have little control over. You’ll probably never be able to shed them completely.

Someone may be able to help, but here is my unqualified recommendation. Work on your acting career. Many actors simplify their craft down to mere pretending. So act (pretend) like you’re in a good mood and let your body respond to that for a while. It’s contrived, so you won’t be able to fool yourself all the time, but to whatever extent you can muster it up it will help you. The side effect is people may want to be around you more, which if nothing else at least gives you some options socially, not to mention in your career. And that may make your mood improve.

Everything You’re Not

Not good enough at sports

Not attractive enough

Not a good enough parent

Not smart enough to solve the problem

Not a good enough person

Not likable enough to have the social life you want

Not strong enough

Not wise enough to navigate difficult situations

Not loved enough

Not talented enough to succeed

Keep telling yourself these things and they are true. Do you want them to be true? Does that satisfy something for you?

Fit

Sometimes a person you’ve known a short time has a greater impact on you than ones you’ve known many years. Certain people in life fit right in to our sensibilities and the way we process things. Is the impact beneficial? Usually it’s a good thing, even if it’s not always comfortable. We can all stand to have our systems perturbed from time to time. You still have to listen to yourself, and trust your course, but by all means…engage.

Unless the effect is clearly negative you owe it to yourself to embark on these journeys. Be careful not to base assessments too much on comfort. Certain comforts are just places to retreat and hide, which opens you up to other risks.

On the other hand, if you can determine that the impact is clearly destructive then no matter how comforting it may be you owe it to yourself to disengage. Just use caution in determining what is destructive. Many people interpret discord (a form of discomfort) as destructive. Discord is often just another symptom of something bigger happening.

The Curse of Perseverance

“Don’t give up.”

“Don’t quit.”

People of solid character, it is believed, don’t give up. They see things through. I must attest that many of the good things that have happened to me were a result of sticking it out in a difficult situation, sometimes past the point where it appeared to make sense. The other side of the coin says…

People who continue to bang their heads against the proverbial wall are foolish or stupid. We feel sorry for them and their misguided idealism. While perseverance has brought me good things, it is also true that this same tenacity has caused great difficulties.

Heart like a ball of rubber bands
Keeps getting caught on things

Part of it is sentimentality — a general unwillingness to let things go. And a competitive streak — unwillingness to accept defeat. Again, this can be a great thing. Leaders, competitors, and many stories of success contain a pattern of unwillingness to accept defeat.

The trick is in knowing when to push on and when to give up. Yes, if we could all know that, life would get easier. But would it get better? I have my doubts. Those things I’ve achieved in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles wouldn’t have happened if I had given up when I logically ‘should’ have. Plus the character building aspect of it (pushing on when it appears impossible) is extremely important. The price for all that is…I also carry a lot of baggage from the things that haunt me, that probably do need to be cast away.

How does one improve the skill of having the intuition (or whatever it is) to know when all hope truly is lost, versus the character affirming and building that is part of sticking it out longer? I think we would call this skill wisdom. It comes from and is informed by experience. The more of that we have, the more things we try (really try, not half-heartedly), the more of it we get, even if we do get a little bloody and bruised in the process. So you push on…perhaps foolishly, but who knows…

Talent, there is no Substitute



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