The Thursday Thesis - 24/08/2017
How’s your day going, today?
Are you having a good day or a bad day?
Now ask yourself “why is this a good or bad day?”
Chances are that you’ll credit the good day to something outside yourself: you’ll also blame the bad day on something outside of yourself, too.
As a coach, teacher, and human being I have a massive problem with blaming or crediting circumstances for my happiness. Here’s why: happy and unhappy are states of mind. Your state of mind can’t be directly affected by anything external to you – the only connection between outside events and conditions is your interpretation of them.
It’s obvious, when you stop to think about it, isn’t it?
If the mind exists within our self then external factors cannot directly influence our state of mind because there is no unmediated connection between the external and the internal. And if circumstances are not the direct cause of happy or unhappy states of mind - our response to those external factors is.
That’s why it’s so important to govern how we interpret what we hear, think, and believe – to protect us from reacting reflexively to events. I see it all the time in my guitar teaching sessions where it’s very common for students to unquestioningly recite other people’s opinions and preconceptions. They’ll often tell me “I have no talent” or “I’m not good at this”, or any other of the thousands of variations they’ve been given over the years.
Their reflexive response is a compilation of other people’s opinions and throw-away remarks rather than the considered judgement of an expert guitarist or teacher.
Letting that loop playback over and over again can go on for a lifetime, colouring every event and experience concerning (in this example) playing the guitar.
For years – even decades – our response to circumstances and events gets handled by erroneous opinions of other people: we don’t even know that we are doing it – we “just know” we’re “untalented” or “no good at this”.
It’s as though we’ve outsourced our responses to events. But that’s our job: nobody else can (or should) do it for us. That job is way too important to unwittingly handover to anyone else, ever.
We are in control.
When we learn to govern and control our reactions to external circumstances, we are in control of our mind, and thus our state of happiness or misery.
And if we’re not in control, it becomes easy to imagine something outside of our self “triggering” us into an irrational state of mind. “Getting triggered” is a feeble justification – an excuse - and
I’m not buying it.
The bottom line is this: we always choose to be masters of circumstance or slaves to it.
We always choose to be happy or unhappy.
What are you choosing today?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2017
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