How To Get Less of What You Don’t Want

 
 PHOTO BY PIM CHU

PHOTO BY PIM CHU

Inversion is a way of thinking, in which you consider the opposite of what you want. 

The Stoics, a group of philosophers who lived centuries ago, had a way of reimaging their lives through a principle called inversion. They considered the opposite. To apply the technique, Instead of focusing on only success and great outcomes you invert or turn over, weighing the opposite to determine where your pitfalls, missteps, and obstacles lie. 

The philosophers believed that by imagining the worst case scenario ahead of time, they could overcome their fears of negative experiences and make plans to prevent them. 

Most of the time when I think about my future, I think about a remarkable encounter where my present-self meets my future-self in all her glory. The daydream is always me on a couch discussing big ideas with Larry King or Oprah. It ends the same way, “You’ve written a brilliant book here that has the potential to shift minds.” I nod graciously, button my Hugo Boss custom blazer, jump in a black SUV to my next interview.

And scene. 

I never get around to reversing that picture. My mom raised my sisters and me on the idea, “as a man thinketh, than so he is,” so I saw no reason to imagine a counter to my well-planned out future. 

But the Stoics may be onto to something. What do I think about when I think about failure? How do I react? How do I perceive failure? How do I prevent failure from happening by thinking of it ahead of time? Now, I’ve experienced my fair share of disappointment, jobs that did not work out as planned, relationships that went bad, and my first and even second book were not exactly New York Times bestsellers. If I had imagined each of this situations at the beginning with a possible adverse outcome, I could have rebounded faster or responded differently. 

Today, when I imagine my goals, I consider all sides and remember just because I can perceive my demise it does not mean I have to let it scare me from proceeding forward anyway. 

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A Life Philosophy

 Photo by Joe Mort

Photo by Joe Mort

I was recently asked about my view and overall thoughts on the world, what I think about today's polarized social climate, what I think about the future, applying my past and present, and did I have a life philosophy to counter the negativity? 

A life philosophy as defined by Merriam-Webster is an overall vision of or attitude toward life and the purpose of life.

For context, my mother, a single parent from the time my sisters and I were four, raised a total of five kids on her own. She was a police detective and highly active in the community. My father, a man who lived by his ideals, was an activist. He protested in the day and drove the city bus at night. I graduated from college with a degree in Communications. I've traveled around the world, to places like Japan, South Africa, London, and Paris. I've created opportunities for myself and have been given some as well. 

My life philosophy is we are all CREATORS. We are creating our lives by the way we think, speak, and move through the world; any self-help coach will tell you that. The application of this is much more transformative. The application that follows this belief has the power to unhinge a life of habits and traditions. This deep-seated belief has transformed the way I see my past, my upbringing, and my future. 

I believe that humans should live and exist in the present allowing the past to be a vehicle for correction and insight, learning from experience and disregarding what does not serve the now. Dismissing what does not help your present desires brings goals and dreams to realization. But ultimately I believe we are CREATORS, that if you or I don't like something we have the power to change it. 

A couple of years ago, I went through my church's recovery ministry because addictions to people-please and pride do not make for a healthy life. Later, I went on to lead the groundwork phase of that ministry. What I know from months of weekly meetings with others who are struggling to find a solid footing in life is that we happen to ourselves. 

We are both the problem and the solution.  

If this is true, which I think it is, the next steps are obvious. My thoughts create my actions so my "thinker," my mind, needs a revolutionary shift. 

I am not discounting bad parents, bad marriages, traumatic childhoods and other misfortunes life hands out. It distributes them equally in one form or another. All I am saying is, "what now?" What will you do with what you have been given? You had a bad family, CREATE a good one. You received a subpar education, CREATE one that fits your aspirations, read, challenge your mind. My mom used to remind my sister and me – the scripture say – you are “transformed” by the "renewing" of your mind. 

It is our mind that needs constant tending to.  

If we should all live by a philosophy, mine is this, because we have such a short time here, a short time to make a difference, a short time to make an impact you and I must choose the way of the warrior. We must choose peace, we must choose happiness, we must choose self-discipline, we must choose love, and we must choose life. When the world wants you to choose violence over peace, victimhood over solutions, don’t. Choose better. Choose higher ground or be swallowed by the waves of noise.  

Another commonly quoted scripture of my childhood says, "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

If you choose to focus on what is wrong with the world if you choose to focus on what has been done to you, that is a choice and as in life, what we focus on magnifies. That does not mean you are silent and absent in moments of great injustice or inequality; it just means that you are focused on and in the direction of solutions so that you can get back to creating a life worth living. 

The Power of Believing It’s Already Done

 photo credit:  Edwin Andrade

photo credit: Edwin Andrade

My husband and I had an in-depth conversation over the weekend on the topic of manifestation, goals, and the belief that the things we want in our lives have already been accomplished. Portions of the idea are based on biblical principles, but also reflected in new age teachings like The Secret. I sought to take it a step further and combine The Secret (manifestation) way of thinking parallel to my belief that our lives are already worked out or predestined (biblical principle). 

In his usual fashion, my husband went to a power point presentation complete with graphs and a chart. He felt inclined to give full visual context to our discussion. 

THE QUESTION

My question, once we fully understand that our lives are predestined, how do we live like what we desire is already done? 

I believe we simply need faith or right believing. I also wanted to explore what action is required on our part to live out that belief. Meaning if it is already done, is there action, if any, required on my part? 

Again, how I clarify ‘it's already done’ thinking, you and I will sit in a chair with the full belief that the chair will hold us up. We sit down with no hesitation or view otherwise. ‘It's already done’ thinking says that the chair is stable, so in full faith, I sit. The action on my part is sitting; the outcome (the chair holding me) is already taken care of so my action is performed out of faith. 

THE REASONING


Cue the graphs and Starbucks analogy. 

In my husband's example, if my goal is a new job, a million bucks or a Starbucks coffee, my belief is that when I get to Starbucks, I will get what I need: coffee, Frap, etc. I have no doubt, full of faith that coffee will be available at the coffee shop. How I live my life, and the action that follows to achieve that goal is in line with my belief so what I need to is leave my bed, get dressed, brush my teeth, get in my car, walk into Starbucks and order. 

AN ANSWER

What I rediscovered in this analogy is the clarity, and the focus of our goals is essential to our belief that 'it is already done.' We must act in a manner in line with our thinking and by leaving out any step in the process voids the outcome. 

This is why our daily habits matter and why the small things matter. If I don’t leave my house, how will I get to Starbucks? If I don’t drive to the location how will I get what I need? If I don’t walk in and order I will never achieve the overall goal. 

The rub, if any step in the process is overlooked as a small or insignificant detail, I will not reach my end objective. I also think by leaving out any steps in the process questions your faith in achieving your goal. 

What I determined is that yes, we can manifest our destinies with the belief that the things we want and desire have already been worked out, in essence, they are already done. We, however, must act in a way that confirms our faith or belief in that end goal by doing the little and big things that put us on the path toward actualization. 

We must sit. 

What are your thoughts?