I’ll start this short article by quoting someone far more knowledgeable than I. I’m reading a book by Susan Jeffers called Embracing Uncertainty (link).
“You’ve entered the cinema and are very excited about seeing this great movie that has been touted by the media for months and months. You are happy that none of your friends nor the media have revealed the ending. In fact, at dinner last night, you stopped someone from blurting it out as you put your hands over your ears and started singing loudly. It got a laugh and your friend got the point…he didn’t reveal the ending. You wanted to experience the story yourself. You didn’t want the movie spoiled. Think about that. It would spoil the move if you knew the ending.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could think of the story of our lives in that way?”
If you think about it, that quote above is Future Thinking at it’s best. What it means is that you relinquish control and by relinquishing control, you can start to enjoy your life, to enjoy the thrill of all the exciting things that happen, rather than getting stressed that ones situation isn’t quite how you would like it to be. You know the feeling? Where you think too much and get stressed too much about things such as trying to earn a few hundred pounds (dollars if you are in the US!) per month. You work harder, you borrow more and too much of your waking thoughts are spent wondering and working towards getting that extra money so you can afford that better model car or a slightly nicer home to live in.
I’m perhaps twisting Susan Jeffers’ quote a little but to release control of our lives is a little like not knowing the ending of a film. She’s right when she says that if you knew the ending to a film (or even the beginning and middle too!), then the film wouldn’t carry as much excitement. Many films of course rely on the uncertainty of what’s going to happen more than others, but what about our lives? Why don’t we just let things happen a little? Why don’t we forget about trying to see round the next bend and spend more time on how we are going to grow and learn from ‘what’s round the next bend’ instead?
Here’s another example: Perhaps you are single and wouldn’t mind meeting someone who you can be with. Maybe you are see someone you like the look of at a dinner, a coffee shop, at the leisure centre and so on. Don’t stress about how you can meet that person and get to know them! They might be with someone for starters! You should relax a little, by all means go and chat or strike up a conversation, but it shouldn’t be about how you can turn that person from a stranger to a close friend.
I personally have been told on many occasions “If it’s going to happen, it will happen”. This is partly true but there also needs to be some intervention on our parts too. That cute looking girl or hot looking bloke isn’t going to become a friend if you sit around doing nothing! What Future Thinking says is that you should be chilled and relaxed about what comes your way, don’t try to ‘make things happen’, don’t try to work out what the end of the film is going to be like. In the case of relationships, if you went from seeing someone you like the look of to falling in love and getting a home together in the space of a cup of coffee, then life wouldn’t hold any excitement would it?
Trying to control (too much) our lives and the ‘end result’, leads to frustration. Frustration leads to stress. Stress, leads to depression. Depression leads nowhere useful.
Still, as I write this, I can’t help noticing the very cute lady sipping coffee a couple of tables away from me :-)
That’s all for now, chill a little, relinquish control and you will have peace and happiness.