Is life happening to you?
Or is life happening for you?
To put it into a more personal form the two questions we could ask ourself when faced with one of life’s difficulties (aka challenges) is:
Why is this happening to me?
Why is this happening for me?
In a sense, both are true, but the form of the question you choose to focus on makes all the difference in the quality of your experience as you work through the challenge (aka problem).
Question 1 puts us in victim-mode where one has little-to-no personal power. With this question, we will focus on all the reasons the difficulty has attacked our life & why it is fucking up our happiness.
Mini Case Study:
Example 1: You get two new massive projects at work on the same day & they are both due on same day. Oh yeah, and all your other plentiful work you had before the two new work projects showed up still have to be done as well. You think to yourself, “FML! How am I going to get all this done?! This is going to kill my work/life balance & my happiness is fucked for the next two weeks! I guess I am just unlucky and will have to suffer through it. Once I get through it then I can finally go back to enjoying my life.”
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin:
Using the format of Question 2 puts us in victor-mode where we have massive power. With this question, we will focus on all that can be GAINED from the experience and how it can ADD to the awesomeness of our life.
Example 1 re-imagined with a Question 2 frame of mind: Same scenario at work hits, two massive projects hit your desk. Though you’re initially slightly overwhelmed you start asking yourself how this can benefit your work and your life. You start looking at it like the next challenge that is going to create the growth you’ve been needing to reach the next level of your career and also the next level of your life. You think to yourself, “Wow! This is more than I’ve ever done all in the same timeframe. I am really going to learn a ton and grow massively. Even more, I get to practice taking work to the next level and still live a life outside of work that is seriously awesome! I’m gonna be stretched, I’m gonna be uncomfortable, but I’m excited because I know that it is outside of my comfort zone where all the growth happens. Damn, I’m lucky this opportunity came along! Things were feeling a bit too easy lately and nothing like a hard challenge to bring some adventure into my life! YEEEEEHAWWWW! Let’s do this!”
If we look back on our life at the most challenging times & trials we usually point to these as the formative experiences that have created the good & great part of ourselves that we & others admire.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize this until way after the experience has passed. Yet, we can train ourselves to actually recognize when one of these tough life altering experiences are underway. It takes a macro view of one’s life to see them as they are happening. We must zoom out and ask ourselves, “Is this one of those experiences that is going to massively move me forward and/or fundamentally change me and my life for the better once I solve it?” If the answer is yes, then we can consciously embrace the adventure as it is happening versus getting beat down by it.
Let me be honest, this is not easy to do. Fear is going to try hide the gifts of the situation from us. Fear is going to try to make us suffer, play victim, play small, bitch, moan & complain. This is when we gotta dig deep. Like real deep. And tap into that fuzzy thing called faith. With some faith in our power to direct & experience our lives in an empowering way we can choose the attitude & mindset that makes the experience worthwhile during the actual experience. [Instead of waiting for months or even years to glean the gold from the adventure.]
So, in order to direct our lives in the best way possible, we must constantly work to consciously choose which frame of mind we are approaching any situation.
Mindset is everything AND energy flows where focus goes.
Do you want your mind wasting precious energy on all the reasons why such and such situation sucks so bad?
Or do you want your mind looking for all Gold to be mined from the challenging growth-inducing awesome situation?
The latter option is the harder choice for most of us, myself included, and it is something we have to constantly practice.
Even now in my life, I am facing family challenges & professional challenges. The case study above is from real life.
The lazy & weak part of myself wants to focus on “poor me, why is this happening to me?”
At the same time, my wiser self is quietly reminding me to focus on “Holy fuck! This is awesome! So much to be learned & gained! I’m going to grow massively from these golden opportunities! I love how life is always happening for me! YEEHAW!!”
I’m writing this as a reminder to myself to listen to the wiser part of myself. And not only to listen quietly but to crank up the volume because it’s always a fine time to celebrate the awesomeness of LIFE!!
If you are in a challenging phase of life try searching for how life is happening FOR you. It may just alchemize your life!
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