One Habit To Turn Your Negative Self-Talk Into Positive Growth and Energy
Everyone has the power to control the way they perceive their experience.
You can choose to see the ‘crazy life’ or wild story that makes up your life, or elevate your perspective to view it as the evolutionary game of perception that creates your experience that it is — with the winners resiliently embracing obstacle as a day to day part of their life and the losers resisting it for feelings of pain and frustration.
I’m not calling anyone ‘winners’ or ‘losers’, this is in the context of your own experience. Ultimately you win if you’re having a good time at it growing and playing a game with each challenge you encounter, or you’re losing if you experience pain and frustration.
This was realized by legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl who said:
right action - unselfish, dedicated, masterful, creative - that is the answer to that question, that's one way to find the meaning of life, and how to turn every obstacle into an opportunity
Frankl realized this when he experienced, observed and studied Holocaust survivors and even among that horror concluded:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
My takeaway is all of us have the power to harness the sophisticated gift of imagination.
Obviously easier said than done in cases of extreme pain like the Holocaust, but it certainly puts your challenges in perspective, doesn’t it?
Therein lies the secret to happiness — tell yourself good stories no matter what happens.
Trials, tribulations and challenges are just life , nothing more or less — and taking radical control of your reactions and responses are what separate those who live well, and those who struggle on their journey.
We’ve been caught in this luxurious trap that has made us think obstacles, challenges and constraints aren’t gifts, though it’s challenges that make overcoming and triumphing possible. Without that, glory wouldn’t be possible.
Just like without darkness, there’d be no light, and without pain, there’d be no joy.
What’s telling about someone’s self-talk and energy is how one talks about their own ‘ life story’.
For example, my dad came to the US from Iran all by himself with his own student savings and finally ‘made it’ (we can talk about what that means in another post).
A long the way, he was naturally homesick and unhappy and even deppressed as a result.
He’s told me of his experience over the years many times and it was not one of enthusiasm, energy and triumph.
Though he eventually got his PHD in mathematics and became a professor at George Washington University — the journey was a struggle and I wonder how, if possible, that journey could have been turned into something greater.
What could dad have done that could have turned his subjective experience into more?
Being aware of my own moment to moment experience has become my obsession, and I believe it’s critical for everyone to take radical ownership of creating the world they want to see — whether they’re an entrepreneur or academic. A blue collar worker or scholar.
To this day, dad talks about how hard his experience was and I’m not doubting that it was hard (he experienced it and said it was so).
However our imaginations...