How many mistakes have you made in the past? Were you able to fully recover from those mistakes or have they led you down some path of self loathing? Sometimes setbacks and mistakes can seem like the end of the world as you know it. They can seem so overwhelming that it may take months or even years to recover from them. So many emotions tied up at one time in something that you though was a good decision. You feel like the stupidest person on the entire planet because no one could have done something this wrong ever. You are the only person who has ever made this drastic of a mistake and fallen this hard. All of that is simply not true at all. The real truth is that we all make mistakes every single day of our lives. We all make bad decisions and encounter bad situations. None more drastic than the other. These things are just the way nature intends them to be. The situations, the places, the people, are all just functioning according to nature. If you happen to read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, you will see this spelled out very clearly in some of his passages. The book, written some 2000 years ago, is his personal journal which he annotated while on his travels. Two things that come up quite a bit in the book are nature and virtue. How all things are created from nature and how all things return to nature. That guy in the supermarket who held the line at a stand still for over 30 min because his bank card wasn’t working properly, this is his nature, good or bad. The guy who spends his time and money in the strip club while on business trips, it’s his nature. The woman who may be a stripper in said club, also it’s just her nature. Marcus believed that everything in our lives is predetermined based on how nature has so shaped our world. We are born into the specific families we end up in, living under the rules set forth by our parents. We go through life with our believes and values that guide our every decision. We love, hate, laugh, cry, kill, protect based on our nature.
Have you ever seen an orchestra or a large band playing music. More than just a rock band, although a rock band will also work if that is what you imagine. A band is comprised of many musicians as well as people building the stage, the lights, the sound board, the speakers. Any performance requires a complete symphony of people and actions to make it work properly. The end state being you in the audience watching and listening. When was the last time you saw a live band and thought, that guitar is a little bit out of tune? Even if it is and even if you did notice, have you ever thought about all the other mishaps that you never would realize were going on behind the scenes and on stage? Have you ever played in a band or an orchestra? Here is the deal, and this is probably true for just about any discipline you can imagine (presentation, meeting, live demo, etc.), every performance you see does not go as planned. Every single one. I don’t really care how great it looked, there is not one that was completely flawless on stage and off. They are not designed like that because humans are in control and humans make mistakes. I’ve played many performances or many types and I can tell you that even on my best day was I able to pick out some flaw in the performance. The first time I was aware of this I was completely shocked to hear from everyone else in the audience that the performance was spectacular or “the best they had ever heard”. Even some of the top athletes in the world can probably count dozens of mistakes in any event they have taken part in on any given day. Things happen every single day for every single one of us. Although perspective would tell us that there have been perfect days. I would bet the farm to say that not one single day has gone by that has been “perfect”. There really is no such animal. It may seem perfect but that is simply your perspective of things. It all has to do with your perspective.
Starting to sound a little condescending? Maybe, but let me explain. A perfect day would mean that every single thing throughout that whole entire day went exactly as planned. Every clock ran at exactly the correct hour it was supposed to. Every blade of grass grew to its optimal height for that day. Every wave that crashed on the shore was placed perfectly where it needed to be placed. Every person you dealt with today was acting exactly the way there were supposed to. Wait, let me contradict myself for a moment. If nature means that everything is predetermined, which means that everything and everyone was already acting and moving in the way intended by nature then… I guess by definition, then every single day should be “perfect”. I suppose this is correct. Not today was perfect or yesterday was not perfect. Everyday throughout history has been perfect. Perspective? So lets discuss this nature thing a little further.
Nature is like the operating system for your mind and furthermore for your life. The values and beliefs that have been programmed over the years while you were growing is all part of this operating system. An operating system, for those who may not know, is a program or a set of rules normally seen in a computer which tells all of the electricity and components what to do and how to interact with each other. Our brains are not too far removed from this. We did in fact create computers. So the things you learned over the course of your lifetime, specifically the essential years until 5 or 6, are the core operating system upon which you build the rest of your life. Just like a computer, these things are not fixed values. You can change the operating system any time you would like. You can also make incremental adjustments to the code inside. You can change the color of your desktop (your surroundings) to some extent. You are able to fine tune some of the features in order to get just the right mix that you feel is perfect. So when someone does bother you or you think something in the universe is conspiring against you, remember that it is nature who has already pre-determined the outcomes based on the math of life.
Every decision you make right now will mold the outcomes which befall you in the future. So choose wisely, as they say. Every single thing you do in life leads to something else, some outcome. The outcomes then are not good or bad but they are determined by what you are doing right this moment. If you don’t like the job you have it is not because the job sucks. It is because you chose that path a very long time ago which led you to it. Don’t be mad at the path. It was destined to happen. If you don’t like the composition of your body you can always change it but do not be angry because it is not your ideal look. The things you did over the course of many years have created what you see right now. I understand, genetics, etc… but I am here to tell you that it is not subject to my approval or anyone else. It is subject to yours. So then maybe the better question becomes, do I not like this thing in my life or these things about myself, or is it some manifestation of what everyone else is saying? It doesn’t really matter because it is in your control to make it how you want to make it. We all have reasons for the decisions we make. There is no right and wrong way to do things. There is simply the virtuous way which leaves you at the end of the day without anxiety, fear, or doubt. The choice that will calm your soul.
So on a closing note, I would only ask one favor of you. I have just watched an amazing interview that speaks to some of these points and more. It really dives deep into learning, neuroscience, fear and a few other things. I ask that you give this video a small portion of your time. It gets a little in the weeds but over an amazing interview by my friend Adam Robinson. Adam is interviewing Josh Waitzkin (his life story was told in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer). They also have an amazing psychologist Dr. Leah Lagos on the interview as well.
Thank you and