Shape your brain, shape your Universe
Let’s imagine you’re in the queue at a public institution. It is a long queue and the person serving the public is moving sloooooowly. You wait, you watch, you think that if it takes 5 minutes to serve a customer, you will be queuing for 2 hours.
And you start to get angry and criticize the person, the institution, the system. You think the official is paid too much considering how slowly they move, that you have to do a lot of things this morning, you wonder why 2 desks out of 3 are closed and so on. As you think all this, you feel irritated, your breathing gets faster and faster, and your blood rises to your head.
Of course, if you had not so much to do, you might not have been so irritated. But you get angry because what is going on is serious, it is hindering you more than helping you, and that is why you can’t do other things properly, you must postpone, reorganize your schedule and the entire plan for today is thrown away.
The queue is moving slowly, and as you approach the counter, you decide that the situation is unacceptable and you are becoming really angry and stressed.
You start talking to people in the queue and share your state of dissatisfaction and frustration. You are unhappy with the time you spent there, the fact that it takes too long, that there are not enough chairs on which people can sit, and perhaps even make a loud comment that things are moving too slowly.
When your turn comes to approach the desk, you’re super-amped and aggressive with the person who serves you. You speak in a stronger voice, you criticize and you show your dissatisfaction with the huffing and puffing, while rolling your eyes.
And after two hours of waiting in the queue, the person at the counter tells you that you need two more documents and that you have to come again, the following day.
Let’s see what actually happened…
There are only 3 things you can really control:
1. What meaning you give to a situation,
2. The decisions you make,
3. The actions you take.
The first thing you can control is the meaning you give to things, events and other people’s actions.
In the story above, the meaning you gave is that it takes too long to wait in a queue, and that’s a bad thing because this hinders more than helps your HPP.
You could have chosen to give different meanings to the situation, and instead of seeing it as a challenge for your HPP, to see how it can actually help you in your HPP. How does waiting in the queue for two hours create time or opportunity for you? What does it allow you to do and that is important to you? How is this a blessing for you?
The meaning you give to an experience determines your emotions, decisions and follow-up actions. You change the meaning of a situation, your emotions and your reactions change.
The second thing you can control is your decisions. Decisions are a bridge between what meaning you give and what you do.
Sometimes we make decisions consciously, other times unconsciously.
In the above situation you decided to create stress and frustration. Yes, indeed. “You are not stressed or frustrated” but you choose to create stress and frustration.
Most of the time we make the decision to create stress unconsciously.
But there can be other decisions about what you are going to do. Here are some alternatives: you have time to think about your stuff, start your morning at a slow pace, have time to listen to an audio book until you get your turn, resolve more emails as they have gathered anyway, make your to do or shopping list, set up a few more meetings, practice mindfulness, etc. You decide on the alternatives.
If you have alternatives, it is a sign that the decision is conscious. If alternatives do not come into your mind, the decision is often unconscious.
The decision is the second thing you can control.
The third thing you control is your actions. Any of the alternatives on which you make a decision, and which you put into practice, is an action. In the above situation, you could even choose to leave and come back another day. You could place the headset in your ears and listen to something that’s right for you, or learn something, or solve other tasks.
The link between meaning – decision – action can rewrite any story and can completely change the energy of a situation or even a day.
If you have control over the meaning, you will have control over the alternatives to choose from and you will have control over the decisions. If you have control over your decisions, you have control over your actions.
You have no control over others, you have control only over your meaning, your decisions and your actions.
You can rewrite any story, if you consciously choose your meaning, your decision and your actions.
I now invite you to choose one of those situations that really pushes your buttons. What is the meaning you initially give?
What other interpretation can you give to the situation?
How is that blessing for you? What good does it bring you to life?
Shape your brain, shape your Universe