The mind is powerful. It is your greatest ally AND your worst enemy. It can make you happy AND it can make you miserable.
Why then doesn’t it come with instructions? Life seems like a riddle sometimes, doesn’t it?
It’s like it knows where you’re going but at the same time you’re lost. Like it’s on your side yet wreaks havoc at every turn. It pulls from opposing sides at all times; life and death, good and evil, win and lose, war and peace. It’s a subtle dance with the yin and yang of the universe.
I don’t understand it. I don’t think anyone ever has or ever will. But like a light shining in the dark, we’ve all caught glimpses of its shadow.
The glimpses I’ve seen of life are that it loves growth, gratitude and work. The mind on the other hand concerned mostly with self-preservation. It’s designed to keep us alive. If we think about it, in a time not too long ago, the major function of the brain was to keep us out of the jaws of a lion, a tiger or from falling into a deep ravine. It’s a fight or flight mechanism.
But what about today, that there are no tigers, snakes, lions or deep ravines vying for our lives?
Since nothing is really life or death anymore, then the mind either has to make stuff up or overly exaggerate non-life threatening situations.
Now We’re Getting Somewhere!
Like overly worrying about bills, rents, mortgages, losing a job, going broke, raising bad kids, losing everything we own, the work assignment that’s due next week, or how about something as simple as moving to another country.
I’m not underplaying the validity of any of the latter points but rather, I’m trying to convey the fact that we must be mindful of reality versus perceived reality. Think about it. Nothing that gives us anxiety or we worry about on a daily basis is life threatening. It may be an inconvenience but that is all — nothing more.
Let’s Break It Down.
You won’t die if you get fired or quit a job. You won’t die if you go bankrupt. You won’t die if you miss a project deadline. You won’t die if your kid gets a bad grade in school. You won’t die if they reposes your car. Life will go on. You will find another job. You’ll get another car. You’ll finish the project. Your kid will pick up his grade. You’ll start over after a bankruptcy.
Don’t get me wrong there are repercussions to everything but let’s not let that stuff makes us sick, ill and steal our peace of mind.
I only point these out because I’ve been through most of these. I’ve lost “everything” multiple times. I couldn’t pay my rent, my car or my bills at one point in my life. My wife had to go to the grocery store with a calculator because we only had $72 left in our bank account. I’ve had ulcers and stomach bleeding issues because I worried so much about things that really didn’t matter.
Now, thankfully, I’m back on my feet. Life is good again but I can never get back those moments when I wasn’t present with my wife, kids, family and at work because I was worried about things that were out of my control.
I wrote this because I feel there are other people like me that need to hear this perspective and maybe my perspective will be the catalyst for them to let go, be present and get control back of their lives because in the end — To Travel Well is Better Than to Arrive.