The Recovering Farmer

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Subtle Art

*Warning. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective of course, the following contains language that some may find offensive. To the best of my ability I will not spell the potentially offensive words in full but rather use some symbols because that naturally makes them less offensive, right??

Some time ago I dealt with a client who was quite perturbed, a grossly understated description, about his predicament. He was involved in a situation that was, from all outward appearances, a life altering event. And as life altering events go life can become a challenge with its twists and turns and frustrations. As he described in vivid detail what was going on for him he was quite liberal in using the “F” word. Half way through his diatribe he apologised to me for his language. I looked at him, smiled, and said I was quite used to that language. After all I am an avid golfer.

Recently my sons challenged me to read a book with an interesting title. You have seen in my other dithering’s how book titles seem to catch my fancy. This one was no different. I know. You are not to judge a book by its cover. But I have before and will again. The book is called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. (written by Mark Manson) I bet that caught your eye as well.

There was a reason my sons wanted me to read the book. As I have mused about previously I easily get caught up in the negative aspects of life. They control my mood and my thoughts. They are often filled with regrets. Far too often I look back and wish I would have done things differently. I preach the benefits of positive thinking. I challenge myself and others to rid ourselves of negativity through positive thinking which is good and well as long as we don’t stew about those negative experiences. But stew I do. I need to change that. Quite frankly I find that at times I have these delusional expectations for myself and for others. Just reading one quote by the author on the inside cover got me keenly interested in what he had to say.

“F*ck positivity. Let’s be honest, sometimes things are f*cked up and we have to live with that.” So there is more to living an enriched life than positive thinking. The argument he makes, academically researched I might add, is not about changing every negative into a positive but rather accepting the fact that we will encounter negative events in our life and we need to live with that. Nobody is perfect and we need to understand and accept the fact that we all have limitations regardless of our expectations.

One particular part of the book speaks about the “feedback loop from hell”. That piqued my curiosity. I have this uncontrollable way of letting my mind run rampant with negative and morbid thoughts. And because I know better than to allow those thoughts I start bemoaning the fact that I have these negative thoughts and that I am such an idiot for thinking them and such a loser for thinking that I am an idiot and because I am an idiot there is no wonder I am useless at this thing called life. Notice how quickly I can get myself in trouble? As the author states; “we feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious”.

What is my point? There is a way to short circuit that feedback loop. You guessed it. Don’t give a f*ck. You see, when we understand that we are not destined to live a trouble free life, always having positivity in our thoughts, we will have the ability to live a more fulfilled life. We will accept our shortcomings. We will be more content. It is a subtle art. Make it a good one.

“Wanting positive experience is a negative experience, accepting negative experience is a positive experience.” Mark Manson

No comments:

Post a Comment