Most things in life are cyclical. We have periods when everything goes our way and periods when nothing seems to go right at all. This is natural and normal. Rather than always waiting for the highs and bemoaning the lows, we need to expect and learn from the lows and fully experience and be grateful for the highs. There is always something beautiful, meaningful, and important in our lives, even in the lowest points.
The world’s going to hell in a handbasket!
Sometimes it feels like the world’s gone crazy and you don’t understand people at all. You can’t imagine why things are going a certain way, and you feel a loss of control, with the associated anxiety and stress. You hear and read people saying things that make you furious and frustrated. You can’t imagine how they could think and say those things. You look at events and see them ending in disaster—disaster that could be easily foreseen if only people would listen and understand. It’s easy to stay in a state of simmering rage, along with healthy doses of incredulity and bewilderment. During these times, it’s more important than ever to understand your reactions and emotional state, and take steps toward healthy and constructive responses to what you’re going through.
What’s your overall impression when you think about your impact on the world?
Most people would probably say that it’s positive but that they could probably do more. But many are not really aware of the range of impacts they have and are not intentional about understanding or targeting their impacts. Many impacts you have on the world, both positive and negative, are subtle. You might give someone a genuine smile and change the course of their day. You might unknowingly use a product with palm oil, not realizing that it’s leading to the extinction of species. When we think of our impacts, many of us only think about those impacts about which we’ve made choices, like giving money to a charity, when the bulk of our impacts do not rise to
How important is self-control to you?
We have to have some self-control or we wouldn’t be able to get by in life. We (at least most of us) have to get ourselves up in the morning, go to work, and generally do a lot of things that aren’t consistent with our impulse of the moment. So, some self-control is vital, but many of us get too hung up when we’re not as disciplined as we believe we should be, or when we’re disciplined about things that aren’t that beneficial to us. Having a good sense of our self-control and discipline and how it impacts our lives can help us develop an appropriate level of discipline and target it more effectively.
We all have narrators for our lives.
A regular stream of thoughts is something very natural and normal that most of us have. If managed intentionally, it can be a welcome and insightful companion. However, if given free rein, it can be a ceaseless heckler, a neurotic worrier, or a naysaying Eeyore (or any combination of the above). It is important to remember that our streams of thoughts are not reality, nor do they even reflect reality. The only reality is our moment-to-moment existence and experience. Our thought streams are also not who we are. We aren’t characters in our stories who have to follow the plots, we are the creators of the stories.