A law Of Nature You Can Harness For Yourself
Some of the best ways of dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks symptoms are achieved by not always focusing directly on these problems. Progress can often come from looking in the opposite direction, and thereby seeing a brighter, more relaxed, creative future, a future that is more abundant in the things you desire. I do not know why, but humans seem to have a pretty strong tendency to look down from the heavens and see the ground beneath them. We drop our eyes from possibilities and seem to relish limitations rather than opportunities. This can easily turn into pessimism, fatalism, low mood, and variants of hopelessness. Depression and anxiety often follow.
I see every day that many more people are focused on the things they do not have rather than the things they do have. Very rich people (seriously rich) have consulted me because they feel they are failing. “Failing at what?” I ask. Very poor people have consulted me who have no job and fewer of those aspects of human capital that create personal wealth, such as a decent education or good life skills. And they say they feel they are failing. I have had numerous people visit me who are very normal in all respects, family, job, career etc., and they say they are failing. You may be thinking now that the theme here is failure, but it’s not. The point is that people from all walks of life, those with abundant material success and those with much less material success, all have similar feelings. This indicates that it’s not the material success that makes the difference between those who are happy and those who show signs of anxiety. It’s their thoughts.
Every process is a two-way continuum. It can go either way. You can look down and feel low, or you can look up and feel brighter. You can dwell on failure and feel as if you are failing, or you can dwell on opportunities, and feel more optimistic. This can become a choice that you can learn to exercise. We settle for less than we can achieve, and that leaves us feeling unfulfilled. One powerful tool to help you re-focus on opportunity is to identify your personal passions, and then work towards embracing them for a more fulfilling life. This journey takes you in the opposite direction of stress, depression and anxiety.
A second powerful tool is to use your passions to create life goals that are helpful in creating focus and momentum. Your passions are likely to be those things you do even when you don’t have to: hobbies, life-long interests, skills you like to exercise, tendencies you have, like sociability or academic interests you enjoy learning about, or physical attributes you value, like an ability in football or swimming (as examples only).
I like psychological formulas, and this is one of the simplest I have so far created. passion + goals = fulfillment. Here is an example. I was at a tradeshow yesterday. My young son had hurt his leg in football, so I was pushing him in a wheelchair. I stopped to admire some paintings that were on display. The artist was sitting there and he asked my son how he had hurt his leg. Then he said “I was in one of those for a year” (pointing to the wheelchair). The painter turned his knee and showed his scar, going all the way up his knee and thigh. Then he said, “That was when I realized that life is too short to work, so I gave up work.” He then qualified his statement by saying, “That is, if you define work as something you have to do and you don’t want to.” He said, “I teach a class in school, and the kids teach me every day. I would do this even if I didn’t have to, so it is not work, right?!” We thanked him for taking the time to chat. That was a truly spontaneous meeting with someone who had realized that passion is the key to fulfillment. He doesn’t work because he enjoys what he does and would do it even if had wealth in abundance. This is a fortunate man–not lucky. I don’t believe in luck– he made his own fortunate future by putting effort into his passion.
Here are 7 questions that, when answered, can help you connect with your passion.
How would you spend your time if you did not have to work?
What have you done or what do you do that gives you a sense of mastery or competence?
What subjects really get you riled up or enthusiastic?
When you go into a book store, which subject section do you often find yourself in?
What are you naturally curious about?
If, at your funeral, you could have a eulogy read about you by a hero of yours, what would you want them to remember you for?
In your spare time, what is the focus of your internet searches?
These questions will help you to focus on your deepest passions. When I use these questions with people, at first, it’s usually pretty hard for them to access their interests and passions (this illustrates how we bury them). Sit with these questions for a week or more. Allow them to percolate through your mind and don’t be self-critical of the answers. Practice being quiet inside; give yourself space, so your passions can be free to identify themselves. If you stamp on them too soon with comment or judgment, you can drive them away out of awareness. They will retreat for fear of being criticized. Allow your passions to grow and thrive, unhampered.