Thursday, July 10, 2008
I didnt think it was going to turn out this way
I didn't think it was going to turn out this way. How much time do you spend mulling this thought around in your head? Remember this can include serious self examination of life events or being irritated about not getting the pickles you explicitly requested on your tuna sandwich.
I thought things would be different this weekend. Well, what things in life do turn out like we think they will? Virtually none. But we have a mechanism for dealing with this. Dan Gilbert wrote a wonderful book on this subject titled Stumbling on Happiness. In this book Dan details his research into happiness and how we fool ourselves into thinking we are getting what we want and this is making us happy.
This is because we can think and dream and we're the only animals that can do this. This means we can anticipate outcomes and create elaborate movies in our heads detailing how wonderful things will be. We envision the house, the cars, the promotions, the perfect wedding, the perfect tee shot, bowling a 300 game the idyllic retirement. We can conjure up anything in our heads and make it a perfect creation.
How can real life ever match the perfect creation of our mind. And what would life be like if we couldn't dream in really big and wonderful ways. How would we know what to strive for?
Trouble comes when real life does not match what we have imagined. Some people manage this better than others. We all drop the ball here from time to time.
I think the happiest people I know are big dreamers who also fully appreciate the realities of life. They are unfazed when things don't workout just has they planned. Many are delighted by the surprises. I recently went through a period when I felt privileged and joyful to go to work in the morning and simply have the opportunity to use my talents to solve challenging and interesting problems. It was the same frustrating and aggravating job but I was able to see the purpose and the richness in the experience. I was able to adjust and adapt when things didn't turn out as I had envisioned them.
I think the simple concept of going with the flow is grossly underrated. Along with take things as they come, roll with the punches, things will work-out, ride the wave, etc. There is value in these statements. In the end how much do we really control? Scary thought isn't it? According to Dan Gilbert things will workout just as we imagined, because we revise is dreams and plans after the fact, others would call it living in the moment, still others would refer to just getting by. Call it what you want but I can tell you it feels peaceful when I can get there.
Thanks for reading.