Whatever may happen to you was prepared for you in advance from the beginning of time. In the woven tapestry of causation, the thread of your being had been intertwined from all time with that particular incident. – Marcus Aurelius
What meaning will you give to your moments in the week ahead?
You are wired to label your experiences.
These labels generate emotions and tell your body how to respond. If you label an experience as stressful then your body will feel stressed.
And, if you decide the experience was good, then you might still feel stressed because you are worried when it will end and you will have the next bad experience.
Do you see the trap?
Over time we develop a program that causes us to see events not as they are but by the labels that we have assigned. From that point forward, we categorize all similar events based on our earlier experience. This is our brain’s attempt to simplify our response to the environment.
If we have enough what we call “good” moments during the week then might say it was a good week. If we have a higher ratio of what we call “bad” moments during the week then it was a bad week.
Another option is to see every experience, not through a label but with a bigger perspective. This moment is not good or bad, it is exactly what should be happening now based on the natural chain of events in our life and in the universe.
Why is this useful?
- You are aware of more options.
- You are free to choose a different response.
- You are better prepared to learn from the experience.
- You are free to choose a different meaning.
- You are less likely to take it personally.
- You are more open to change.
What usually gets in the way of being the kind of person you want to be or taking action on your best intentions?
You are stuck not because of a good or bad situation but because of the story you have created in your mind. This story is linked to your beliefs about your past experiences and, as a result, the meaning you give to your present.
What implications does this have for the week ahead?
You are dreading some situation you know is coming. You are heading into the week in a negative state. This may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You are looking forward to something positive or exciting. What if it does not go as planned? What kind of state will emerge from your disappointment?
Experiment this week with catching yourself in reaction and notice the labels you are giving to a situation. Notice how your body is responding and whether this is enabling you to be more effective in your work and leadership?
Try stepping back from the moment to allow space for a different meaning. Allow yourself to consider that this is just one small thread in a larger story. Offer to let it serve its purpose and open up to the new possibilities that emerge.