Since so many people enjoyed last weeks article, where I spoke out 5 ways we make life harder than it needs to be, I thought I would add to the list, while answering this question…
“How do we unintentionally (or accidentally) make life harder than it needs to be?”
I am a big fan of words like ease and grace.
Also I like a high return on investment, for the lowest expenditure of energy, time and resources.
I am always looking at how to improve things or make them easier and more impactful.
Life is hard enough as it is, so it makes a LOT of sense to not make it harder than it needs to be.
And given my work coaching for the last 15 years, I have had plenty of time to see people doing it tough, when they really don’t need to.
Plus I have seen how they are the ones – knowingly or unknowingly – making their own life hard.
It is most often not something “out there” which is causing pain, discomfort or disturbance in their lives, it is often something they are doing, because they are not aware of it, or don’t know better.
Take this example in relationship to GENETICS.
People unknowingly think that because they have the same genetics as their parents, they will experience the same illnesses or diseases their parents might have experienced. For instance: heart disease, cancer, or dementia.
When newer scientific research, in the field of epigenetics, says the things we do (e.g. exercise, meditation, practicing gratitude and optimism, elevating our thougths and emotions. etc.), have a significant impact on what genes are, or aren’t, expressed. We up-regulate genes of health and healing by the choices we make – not solely by the genetics of our parents. We can override, and overwrite, our hereditary genes, by the right choices and actions.
Awareness and the knowledge from that awareness, can change everything.
So given that background, let’s look at one more way many people make their life much harder than it needs to be.
“Why so Serious?” (the Joker said to Batman)
This is a reminder for me as much as it is for you.
We often make life harder than it needs to be because we take ourselves and our life WAY more serious than we need to.
Instead of laughing at ourselves for being a klutz (i.e. a clumsy person) for spilling our drink on our nice white top, we berate ourselves for being stupid, an idiot, etc..
This also means that instead of turning on the expression of genes associated to laughter and joy (and activating neurochemicals like serotonin and oxytocin), we turn on genes associated with ‘survival’ and defending our sense of identity while activating adrenaline and cortisol, as we get ready for a fight or flight response.
The event of spilling your drink is neither good nor bad, as the Buddhist’s would say.
They would say it is neutral until you give it meaning.
If you give it meaning of – I can be a bit of dufus on occasions, especially when I am not paying attention to what I am doing – your internal chemistry will respond very differently, than if you gave it the meaning of – I am stupid and an embarrassment to my family.
We take ourselves way too seriously, way too often.
When something doesn’t work out; instead of learning from it, having a laugh and getting back on the wagon, we can stew on it for days and weeks (and even years).
In the bigger scheme of things…in the scheme of the universe, and even the 8 billion or so people on the planet…DOES YOUR MISHAP REALLY MATTER THAT MUCH???
You do realise that every other person on the planet is imperfect; so cut yourself some slack.
Do any of these seem ‘familiar’?
You are a mother and worry your child-raising skills and some reactive comments or actions towards Johnny will scar him for life.
You didn’t get that pay rise or promotion that you thought was coming your way.
Your big business idea was a bit of a fizzer.
When you approached that very attractive man or woman, they gave you the cold shoulder (or worse yet, told you to ‘bugger off’).
You told a bunch of people that you would achieve a certain goal and you are way off the mark.
You have a To-Do list as long as your arm and you think the world will end if you don’t get them all complete.
We forget to take a breath.
To put things into perspective.
To be kind and caring to ourselves.
To laugh at our up-tightness.
To laugh at how small a speck our tottering project is compared to the creation of the universe.
To laugh at how absurd some of our so-called ‘leaders’ are.
To laugh at the shenanigans being played out in the halls of government (by supposed adults.
To laugh at yopurself for having a mini meltdown when you went to buy a new PC Laptop a couple of weeks ago (yep, that one is real, and I am actually laughing about it, as I reflect on it.
A (funny) side story… I usually use Apple computers, but I decided after my Macbook Air packed it in, that all I really needed was a glorified typewriter (to write my next book); so I would just pick up a cheaper PC laptop. It was a hot day, and a busy drive into downtown Denpasar (Bali’s capital city). When I went into the computer store I was the only person in there. There were 5 Indonesian sales people in the store looking at me like I was a cashed-up white man (yes, it was my perception). I felt vulnerable and thought “I should have done a bit more research as I have NO IDEA about what model I want and how much is the appropriate amount.” I really was the gullible white man, ready to be fleeced in Asia. The story is a little longer, but in summary, I was totally flustered by the end. I had a computer, but had no idea if it was any good, or if I paid too much for it. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and retreat back to my home and my supportive understanding partner Ferry (who is Chinese-Indonesian and knew I would get pounced on by the salesmen). I was frazzled, but I also had to laugh at how the guy that wrote a book on ‘Decision Making Mastery’ was such an AMATEUR on this occasion!! Embarrassing, but more so; pretty damn FUNNY!!!
Let’s all realise (and ACCEPT) that none of us are perfect.
We all have some flaws.
Plus life is to be loved, lived and experienced joyfully.
Let’s ask ourselves “How can I bring more joy, laughs and humour into the daily grind of life, while I (sometimes) blunder my way through it?
Life is not as hard if we choose to let go of stories of misery, lighten up, laugh at our imperfections and “F-ups”, and take ourselves a whole lot less seriously.
There is a huge energy shift when we ‘turn that frown upside down’ and replace it with a SMILE, chuckle or better yet, a good old belly laugh.
My Parting words
We can actually CHOOSE HARDER or more PEACEFUL.
One of the easiest ways is to get perspective.
See our woes in the bigger picture of life.
And be joyfully grateful for what we already have.
Life is pretty good if you choose to notice.
And pretty funny if we look for the funny side of things (and care less about what others think of us).
On that note, have a joyful day and a playful, care-free and unserious week.
See you next week.