At a talk I gave recently, I was asked what I consider to be the biggest challenge that we personally face in our lives. It didn’t take me long to respond. Most of us are imprisoned by our negative thoughts, which affect our ability to enjoy life in the moment and to be optimistic about the future.
Being optimistic is an act of faith that is a moment-to-moment choice that one makes over and over again. Our ultimate challenge is to be optimistic in the face of the many reasons not to be.
If you are questioning how you are doing, ask yourself how much you worry. Most of us worry more than we would like. This excessive worry drains us of our ability to enjoy life in the moment. We feel empty. There’s no place to hide. Almost every day there is a crisis somewhere in the world that fuels the fires of worry. Routinely there is the mention of an economic collapse or bank failure, which reminds us of how our own accounts or businesses are doing and adds to our stress.
On top of that the stress of everyday living drains us. It might be a toxic relationship, work situation or financial issue. We mistakenly believe that when the current crisis is resolved, there will be smooth sailing. Perhaps for a brief period of time there is, but there is always going to be a next thing to be concerned about. We can’t change that. That’s life. From our limited perspective we aren’t able to see the big picture. As a result we overreact even to the normal circumstances that occur in the course of everyday living. In the process our personal, spiritual and emotional accounts are drained.
Welcome to a new kind of bank, the inner B.A.N.K of Well-Being. It’s our internal barometer as to how we are feeling about “life.” When our account has a nice surplus, it’s easier to be optimistic and to feel that we can handle most challenges. Our job is to make daily deposits into this account.
Since we can’t change the external events that are going to occur, we have to focus on the things that we can change which are our internal states and our belief systems. We can replenish our accounts by depositing good energy into them in the form of positive thoughts, healthy food, exercise, a spiritual discipline, inspiration, and supportive friends. When you have a daily spiritual practice, everyday in some way you are making a deposit. Meditation and communing in nature have always had a healing affect on my being. I know that you have your own way of replenishing your account. The important thing is to commit to making the deposit in some way even when you don’t feel like it.
One of the biggest deposits you can make is to cultivate your VIP, your voice of inspiration and praise which I have previously written about. It takes work and dedication to cultivate this voice, but if you don’t make the choice to be proactive, your life will seem like one of limitation. Becoming conscious of your thoughts is not only a choice that determines how you experience your life, but it’s also a choice about becoming the person who actually lives that life. It’s a choice about which voice you choose to listen to; the voice of judgment and limitation or the voice of inspiration, which becomes your “guiding light.”
Now that we’ve explored the importance of making a commitment to replenishing our accounts, let’s explore what we can do to reduce the worry in our lives and to stop the drain on our accounts. With that in mind, I have included a 3-step process which is excerpted from my forthcoming book, Dancing on the River, that will help you reduce the worry in your life.
The Reduce Worry Process
Worry is an irrational emotion. F.E.A.R. is an acronym that reminds us of this truth; False Evidence Appearing Real. The first question to ask yourself is what is the worst that can happen?
After you have done that, then ask yourself, “How likely is it, that what you are worrying about will happen?” This inquiry forces you to detach from what you are feeling, even if just for a few seconds. It gets you out of the irrational mode, which is when you usually imagine the worst-case scenario. From this place of feeling calmer, explore the likelihood of the particular thing that you are worrying about actually occurring. Usually I come to the conclusion that there is little likelihood of the future circumstance occurring and even if it does, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll get through it.
The next inquiry, although counterintuitive because of our past conditioning, is quite powerful. Ask yourself what the result would be if everything went your way. Very few of us allow ourselves to consider this possibility. We have no way of knowing what is going to happen in the future, yet for some reason when we worry we think we do. In the process of training our minds to think more positively about the possibilities in our life, life can become an exciting journey of discovery.
Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 1, 2010.In the process of training our minds to think more positively about the possibilities in our life, life can become an exciting journey of discovery.
I’m excited to announce that Dancing on the River, will be available on Amazon beginning May 15th. Feel free to forward Letters on Life to those in your circle and please let me know what’s going on in your life.
Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 15, 2010.