Fixed ideas are the source of 90% of our suffering.
It goes like this:
– We get a picture in our head.
– Then we look at the world.
– We compare.
– We realize they don’t match.
– We get sad.
– We get angry.
– We get frustrated.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can learn to work with these fixed ideas. We can learn to adapt.
When I was a high school senior I went in to audition for a play. I was sure I was perfect for the lead.
I had spent 4 years in the drama program. I had prepared for the part. I knew was going to get it. They owed it to me.
As the auditions progressed, I kept waiting for my chance. I read for a few other parts. But I wasn’t getting called for the lead.
All of a sudden the audition was over. I was devastated. I did get a part, but it wasn’t the lead.
You Don’t Deserve Nuthin’
Looking back, I realize I wasn’t right for the part. Even if I had tried out, I wouldn’t have gotten it. It just wasn’t me.
But at the time, it was hard. It was hard because, I had formed a fixed idea. I thought I deserved the part.
After I was over getting upset, I realized a hard truth. You don’t get something just because you think you deserve it.
It was a tough lesson to learn. But once I was able to let go of that idea, my life became much easier.
You can’t just flip a switch and get rid of all fixed ideas. But, you can learn to be more flexible, to adapt. And if you do you’ll be happier everyday of your life.
The 3 Keys to Everyday Happiness
1. Hold Your Preferences Lightly
Ever heard that story about the band that demanded a bowl of brown M&M’s at every show? Crazy right?
Yet, we all have our own version of this. Little idiosyncrasies that we ‘need’ to be happy. I once got into a fight over the proper way to load silverware into a dishwasher. (handles up and pre-sorted obviously)
The truth is unless it’s a food allergy you don’t need it that way. You just like it that way. It’s just one preference in a universe of preferences. You’ll be much happier if you learn to hold it lightly. Or even better let it go completely.
2. You Can’t Should’ve Done Anything
You can replay that conversation again and again. You’ll never be able to go back and say the right thing. If you need to apologize do it and move on.
Once it’s happened, it’s happened. Accept responsibility for your part and work to do better next time.
Don’t waste time with arguments in your head. Holding onto the past is not adapting. Look, learn, and then let it go.
3. When It All Falls Apart, Let It Go.
Yesterday, I got locked out of my partners house… twice. Both times, I left my computer at her house. So, I couldn’t get any work done.
I could’ve gotten upset, but instead I just took the day off. I did some foam rolling, took a long shower, and did a short tempo run.
It was a great day, because I accepted that I had no control over the situation.
If your flight is delayed, if your car breaks down, take whatever action you can and then relax. Worrying doesn’t speed anything up.
As the Dalai Lama Says “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
1. Pick one preference, one small mistake, or one mishap to let go of.
2. Look for the fixed idea that you’re holding onto.
3.Realize that just because you think it’s true doesn’t mean it’s so.
4. Let it go.
5. Notice that you haven’t let it go.
6. Let it go again.
What weird preferences do you have, that you have a hard time letting go?