Feel Powerless? How to Change Your Mindset Today
"I'm fed up. Why won't things ever go my way?"
Have you ever had this thought?
It usually comes about when a lot has gone wrong in your life.
But is this the best question to ask?
Is this the right way to look at what happens to you?
Maybe the way I learned to approach things will change how you think about this.
Lost at Sea - The External Approach
I used to think of myself as an agent outside of the process of life.
What I do I mean by that?
I mean that I believed whatever happened to me was the result of outside forces that I could not control, that I would never be able to control. Little did I know that this external-focused mindset severely hampered my impact in the world--and, surprisingly enough, was not accurate to begin with.
I thought I was a ship out at sea and that if I happened to find land, then that was the result of being pushed by the gales of life in the right direction. If I made it to an island, it was because I was able to harness the wind in a way that happened to be favorable. That I was lucky.
This all sounds great. And sometimes that worked very well. But it depended on having any wind at all. What about the times when the wind didn't blow? When it wasn't there to begin with?
This is when my mindset started to change.
Found In Sea - The Internal Approach
Sometimes there just isn't any helpful wind.You're out at sea--or in the middle of a pond, or being carried down a raging river--and the world is flying by, zooming all around you.
This is how I felt for the first two and a half decades of my life.
But around the age of 25, things started to change. My mindset started to change. It most likely coincided with needing to have a surprised heart surgery and being forced to adopt a new mindset or risk being beset by misery and depression for long periods of time.
I started to see myself differently. I started to see the world differently. Rather than viewing myself as being carried away by bizarre, external forces, I started to adopt an internal-focused mindset. An internal-focus mindset is not one that is self-centered; it's a mindset that starts to see the individual within the environment, as playing an integral role in the greater whole.
I started to learn that, yes, there will always be outside forces, there is also a powerful inside force. Being stuck at sea does not mean I'm always stuck at sea. It doesn't even mean that I'm stuck in the first place. I learned that I could also be peacefully afloat at sea, that maybe there was a reason that I was in the water in the first place.
Rather than rage against it, I learned to see the benefit of what initially appeared to be undesirable conditions.
Because that's how it always is, isn't it?
We can see something and label it, telling ourselves that it shouldn't be this way. Or we can adopt an internal-focused mindset and see ourselves as a part in the whole.
What's there is there, and there's no use in labeling something that doesn't deserve our anger.
It's a path toward acceptance, and it will always be easier said than done, but acceptance provides us with a beautiful vantage point.
It's when we accept our position that mind and the body come to rest. And our most effective work can begin.