Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avoiding Destiny

It's easy to see the reasons for our frustrations in the people around us. If he wasn't so lazy... if she would just say what she was thinking... if only they would listen... I would (communicate more, say what I felt, be better etc) but he/she isn't being (honest, fair, responsible, etc.) so I'm going to wait until (X) happens before I...

I am a victim of this brand of thinking. I have thought many times that things are the way they are because of someone else and when they finally get it, I'll be able to do what I wanted to do. This does not allow me to be free, nor am I able to be completely satisfied knowing that I have done what I wanted to do no matter the outcome. Notice I did not say happy. I would be happier with my hoped for result, but by doing nothing, nothing happens. This virtually guarantees that the result I hope for will not be the observed outcome. How often will someone be able to read our minds and suddenly understand how we feel and what we want and make the necessary effort to realize OUR hopes and dreams? I'll let you answer that.

I usually get to a point where I feel like I need to "understand" what the other person is thinking, and at the same time explain my point of view in hopes that they will "understand" me and where I'm coming from, and what I'm thinking and this will be the magic that makes everything happen the way I would like it to from now on. More often,... alright, nearly every time, the product of this conversation is not anywhere close to what I pictured. Half the time it's not even very good, and sometimes it's bad. Sometimes trying to "figure everything out" really just "messes everything up" which isn't what we want which is why we tried so hard in the first place to "figure everything out". As Master Oogway says on Kung Fu Panda, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." I believe this happens when we make decisions, or more broadly, act, from a perspective of uncertainty and fear. When we act out of fear it is our fear that becomes the focal point of our actions. Even though we do not want our fears to be realized and try to take actions to move away from them, they are the central influence and thus become the more likely result.

I guess what I'm saying is act out of an attitude of faith that you will succeed. With success as the understood outcome the question is no longer "If" but "how". You will not get bogged down trying to analyze and avoid everything you interpret to be undesirable, but you'll be free to move forward and create opportunities for success.

I think it's interesting how we seem to be unwilling to say what we mean in a way others will understand us. Sometimes I think we are afraid to say what we want to say because of social pressures, or because we are unsure how the other person may respond. Or how about the fact that we act contrary to what we say? I don't mean the way we all say things like, "people ought to give to charities more," and then we don't give more to charities. I mean more along the lines of maintaining continuity between our verbal and nonverbal communications. Sometimes we say "yes" but then we act like it's not something we wanted to participate in. Other times we say "no" but then we act like we're disappointed when it doesn't happen.

The topic of misdirection came up in a recent conversation I had. I mentioned how frustrating it can be when people say one thing and then act like that's not what they meant and my conversational counterpart said they didn't like that either and had decided that by not saying or doing anything which could be misinterpreted they avoided misdirecting people. Basically by being intentionally hard to read, by not actually saying or doing anything with any sort of social implication or interpretation, one would never be misread. I didn't say what I thought about that at the time because the concept was simple enough I didn't get confused until later. If you never actually say or do what you mean then no one will actually know what you mean, and will therefore misread you with any attempt to do so. So, in reality, every time someone tries to read you, you will be misread due to the very thing you do to insure that you won't be.

I'm sorry if any of the above was confusing. I suppose there really isn't just one simple explanation for the varied ways people can produce confusion for themselves and others. If I take a look at myself I see that by being overly cautious I am not actually being true to myself, I am not doing what I really mean to do and I cheat myself of my goal. Who would actually try to sabotage their own efforts? No one would consciously admit to it, but we do this all the time! Due to our past experiences we try to act in a way that will bring success to our current situation. We build a template for our actions based on the past but usually ignore the current situation's unique set of circumstances and then when we realize things aren't going the way we want we become afraid to do or say what we really think or feel. Others sometimes become confused by this type of behavior and react in a similar manner, avoiding saying or doing anything definitive which just adds to the overall confusion. Honesty really is the best policy. Honesty in this case doesn't mean to say everything that may be on your mind, don't throw away your tact, but be honest to yourself and to others by doing what you mean to do, and saying what you mean to say. It may mean that you take a moment to really think about what you want, what you want to do or say, and how to do or say it, but I feel like it will pay off more than flailing wildly through life's events, reacting unconsciously instead of consciously acting.

What would you do if you weren't afraid? You know what you're afraid of. You know what it is that holds you back, why you don't do what you want to do. In some cases you may think you don't know, or you may think that there isn't a reason, and this will usually mean that it's something you don't know how to come to terms with or don't want to admit. Good luck with that, because until you are willing to find it, define it, own it (take personal responsibility for it), and allow people to help you with it, it will plague you and affect countless other aspects of your life. What would you do if you weren't afraid? Would you try out for the team? Would you speak up in that business meeting? Would you ask out that girl everyone seems intimidated by? Would you be more generous in your communications with others? Would you be the person you want to be? When you face a challenge, will you admit defeat before the fight's begun? Or would you rise to the occasion and boldly move forward? Would you be ashamed of your shortcomings? Or confident in your efforts and plans to overcome them?

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." ~ Isaiah 41:10

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." ~D&C 6:36

What would you do/be/say/feel if you weren't afraid?

No comments:

Post a Comment