Are you really winning?
Thinking out loud
I wanted to take some time to flesh out my thoughts with all of you. I have been doing a considerable amount of thinking lately, reflecting on the past 2-3 months, which have been some of the most difficult times I have yet to come across. Yet through these times I have cultivated the most powerful winning mindset to date. I subtitled this “thinking out loud” because I am attempting to understand why I didn’t fold. I certainly did not foresee circumstances like these blocking my path, or even altering it in some ways. I absolutely did not take extra considerations to “train my mind” nor did I visualize myself overcoming this suffering. The circumstances that I faced are irrelevant to anyone but me; on my scale, they maxed it out.
To anyone you may share your circumstances with and most certainly many that I shared them with, viewed them as a recipe for disaster – which it may have been – but the takeaway is: they see a loss where I see the greatest win to date. It is incredibly backwards to think that way and I would not wish for any of these things to occur nor would I intervene in any way to create such circumstances, but I am so fortunate to be able to face these challenges.
I think that the greatest few takeaways for all of you to think about from these challenges are as follows: emotional awareness and objectivity, consistency and discipline, and expectations. It can be quite unsettling to feel out of control and that your actions cannot affect the outcome in any measurable way – this is where your expectations come in – if you expect things from situations or events, you will continue to be let down and oftentimes frustrated. I am using the verb expect in the sense that it is the perceived likely outcome, generally the most emotionally tied response. This is different than another often used verb, predict, which is more of an estimation of outcomes and is the more logically rooted response. My advice would be to carefully manage your outcome of situations and especially people. To be pragmatic – people will let you down. We are all incredibly selfish beings and fail to measure up to expectations – known or not – but that’s a topic for another time. As developing human beings, we have expectations to be successful, when we do not even know what true success is. We expect to be happy when we haven’t the slightest clue of what true happiness means, let alone how to find it. My point being that you can expect four things from the world: expect to fail, expect to be challenged, expect to experience loss and to lose, and expect to be let down. That being said, expect one thing from yourself: things will never get easier, you will just get better at handling them as long as you don’t quit.
Goals and Objectivity
What are you willing to give up for your goals? This is a complicated topic in my eyes, as I believe it truly relates to the "developing expectations" I mentioned above. We often frame our goals around our expectations for ourselves; the expected and necessary landmarks to deliver ourselves to this predestined successful utopia known as happiness. If I get x or y, I will be happy. Many successful people will comment on their past, stating the struggles and the journey are what made them successful. Embrace the struggle, they say. Hustle hard, hustle smart. And they are all correct in saying that. However, what are you grinding for, why are you giving things up, why are you frustrated, and why are you happy? I had to think about this one for a while, as I was stuck in a single frame of reference. I had lost touch with certain aspects of my reality. I was using goal chasing as a way to create false happiness, false meaning in my life, to distract me from the chaos swirling above my head. It wasn’t until that came to a crashing halt did I understand the errors of thinking that way. I was forcing myself to be unhappy because of my frame of reference; my spectacles I viewed the world through. If I wasn't making progress towards x or y, I wasn't happy. Until I became aware of my why, I could not view anything differently. Why does this goal matter to me? In one instance, it hit me. This goal wasn't even for myself - it was rooted in the reflections of others onto me. Approaching situations with objectivity and utilizing logical principles even in a heightened emotional state, allows you to formulate an appropriate response to external or often internal stimulus. Our mind has a funny way of creating illusions that cloud our reality and trap us, just like I was. Once I let go of the toxic goals I was holding onto and essentially woke up to the fact that I was the one holding myself back, I could then continue to flesh out my why in an objective manner void of influential emotions forcing me to live up to illusive standards that frankly don’t matter. People will let you down, the world will never cease to be difficult, so frame your reference in a positive way that reflects your passion and your why.
Be in control of what you can control. Harden your mind, be objective with your emotions. Think critically about the world. Own your frame of reference and be solid in your convictions. This will enhance your own objectivity by allowing you to intake additional stimulus without becoming overwhelmed and confused. Ownership separates the overwhelmed from the overcoming.
Even in the midst of the greatest challenges I have faced, I am still a winner. Even if I fail or lose, I am winner at my core, and I will always find a way to win. Embrace challenges, be a psycho, be a clown, be a human, but never lose. But what really is winning?