“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”― Albert Ellis
I was walking down the street, doing a social exercise of saying “Hi” to random strangers, and I was suddenly in a place I had not been. I was not familiar with the place and was feeling out of my element. I wondered “What sort of meditation might make me grounded enough to be comfortable in this situation?”. Then I quickly realized how irrational that thinking was, and thought “well I’ll just say Hi and see what happens”, and so I did.
So if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a long time eating up lots of information, trying different systems, and even various forms of meditation. You may have had varying levels of success, and perhaps some worked miraculously well even. You just want to run into the streets and tell all your friends and every stranger willing to listen how amazing this one thing you’ve discovered is.
This works as an excellent foundation, a sort of training wheels that allows you to get started down a path that might be foreign to you previously. Essentially to “fake it until you make it”. At some point you don’t need to worry about what the likes of Socrates or Jesus may have said, but you can believe in what you have to say.
There is a danger to all this too, and it is a pitfall I’ve fallen into several times, analysis paralysis. “The next book might get me over this one thing I need to learn”, “But wait, is that the right way to look at death? Let me read 10 more books on it from varying beliefs”.
Thus is what happened in my opening story, trying to think of what system, belief or strategy I may throw at the situation, when instead, the answer was just to do it. You do it, and you deal with it. You let go of your expectations or a particular outcome. You let go of the need to fully control yourself and others.
You learn and you learn, and you learn that you didn’t need to learn. Instead you remember, you remember how you were before so many ideas filled your head of how you need to be, how you need to act, how you need to present yourself.
This End Game Concept is tricky but also very liberating. It is to take all the things you’ve learned, all the things you do, all the things you want, and let them go. Not to stop what you’re doing, but to let go of all these things you’ve built up about yourself, and how you should be. It is like the number one thing you learn from self improvement, is that there is no self to improve.
If you are simply a person who does what they’re inspired to do, you don’t need to attach any of those things to yourself. You can take action which shows courage, but not label yourself a courageous person. For perhaps you end up in a truly dangerous situation, and you’re not a ‘courageous person’ and now you feel bad. Instead, let go. Do the act of courage when it feels right to you, but realize it can never define who you are. There is no benefit to placing unnecessary labels on yourself. Simply do. Let go. And do again.