Sunday, April 9, 2017

Work with what you've got

I have found over the years that a lot of mental energy can be expended wishing circumstances were different which is really kind of a dumb way to live. So I’ve adopted a phrase to help me redirect that energy. When I start to wish things were different I say (often out loud), “Well, they aren’t different so work with what you’ve got.”

It’s a pretty good technique because it moves my focus to things I CAN change.

Think about people you know who complain a lot. If you evaluate their complaints they almost always rant about stuff that they can’t change. What a waste of energy. Now think about people you know who are perpetually optimistic. Do bad things EVER happen to them?

British author Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) creator of Winnie-the-Pooh et al, really nailed this complaining mindset in his character Eeyore. Eeyore is gloomy, despondent, and downright depressing to around.

There are Eeyores in your life, I know there are and you can’t change them (They must choose to change themselves). But if you find yourself drifting in the direction of Eeyore-ish-ness it need not be a permanent state of mind. Oh, no. Once you accept that your only option is to work with what you’ve got then discouraging situations don’t look so bad.

After all, when you consider the alternative can you possibly work with what you HAVEN’T got?