Hmm…..so, all of those people out there who have read the book “The Secret”….is the ‘secret‘ that you need to visualize exactly what you want and you will get it, or just visualize a happy outcome and things will naturally fall into place because of your positive attitude? What I mean by this is that if you see the world through rose-coloured glasses then maybe even the worst of scenarios won’t seem half-bad….
About 5 years ago when this book was flying off the shelves, I opted for another read. “The Happy Neurotic” was my self-help guru. It was a great read that encouraged you to relish in your oddities, try to love yourself through self-doubt, and realize that your personal fears are often what propel you to succeed. I didn’t really buy all that ‘visualize’ and it will just happen mumbo jumbo…I have always strongly believed that action creates results. Maybe aside from the chapter encouraging me to take up stand-up comedy as an outlet to self-deprecate (who needs stand-up when I have a blog?), the Happy Neurotic was a good read at the time. It was a true message, not filled with hidden meanings, magic beans, or the belief that just ask and you will receive.
But, now that I’m a bit older, and I like to think a bit (wiser?)…I do think that positive thoughts = positive outcomes. Not because you visualized something and it magically happened, but because you can see the good in so much more of what you never saw it in before. I have the option of looking at my life and saying “Single, 31, renting, contract position, debt, used belongings” and create a reason to jump off that ledge. However, instead I’m kind of looking at this all as a bit of an open book. I have 2 degrees, a job I’m enjoying even if it’s not forever, am lucky enough to live in my own place, enjoy my own space, and take advantage of all the wonderful friends and family who in the past I didn’t know were always there for me…
They were. I just wasn’t always there for me. Instead of trying to be the best or change the world, maybe just do your best and let the world change you.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that I’m not incredibly proud of myself for all the things I have gone after and with hard work, dedication, and effort I have achieved. But, the harder part has been that these things didn’t necessarily make me happier in the end because I had set unrealistic expectations on what they would feel like or how they would change my life. So, even though I was a success, I often didn’t feel it. Hell, I battle that still. I have proven that one can achieve what they set their mind to, but I think the key is to set your sights a little lower sometimes. Good message to give the kids, right?
Mmmmhmmm. I think my parenting style may suffer some judgement in the future….
In all seriousness, lower may not be the right word, but just make sure you are realistic about what you are reaching for.
I now realize that the whole cliché of “glass half-empty or glass half-full” isn’t just a cliché. It can’t be forced and it can’t be faked. It isn’t an instantaneous change and it isn’t a perfect formula. Let’s be honest, it’s not as simple as just changing your mind one day…there is no ‘on & off’ positivity switch. I think the real ‘secret‘ is honestly, truly, trying to see the glass as half full. It’s life…and people…and time that can change how you look at things. I can’t say I won’t have bad days, lonely nights, or things that don’t work out…but I can say that at least today, it’s a little bit intriguing to not know what is going to happen next. Maybe the key isn’t to envision at all…
I do think that too many expectations or trying too hard to attain something may not always bring about the results you imagined. There is a fantastic scene in the movie, “500 days of Summer” that shows a split-screen of Tom’s expectations vs his reality. I, for one think that over-visualizing what you want from life will create a false hope that attaining one last thing will change you. I’m not saying don’t make goals, I’m just saying, don’t judge who you are as a person by them. I am over the moon to see what happens when you don’t try so damn hard.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
The Ginga Ninja