The World is What You Make It, So Make It Good
Your Right to Choose
The difficulty is that, when we adopted a particular perspective, we did it because we saw it as truth. Most of us don't feel like we have a choice: we see a particular side of reality and so we interpret it as "just the way things are". To suggest that there's another way to see the world would be like telling someone that they are seeing colors wrong.
When I believed I was weak and sickly, it was because I had observed myself and made the determination based on what I saw as reality. It took a story about a weak asthmatic boy becoming a martial arts master for me to entertain the possibility that I could become strong.
Witnessing other people doing the things we want to can help us see our way to a new perspective. There are wealthy people in the world, and they clearly see the world in a different way than I do. I can either find ways to adopt some of their perspectives, or I can believe that they are just lucky or special, and I've been assigned the position I'm in.
But THEY don't have that mindset. Successful people tend to have the perspective that they can choose their destinies.
You can see how it starts to get really meta? You choose your perspective on whether you can choose a perspective...and so on.
Weakening Perspectives, and Empowering Alternatives
Of course, you can choose whatever view you want. The Warrior Spirit approach is to choose something that empowers you and makes you happy.
You might be saying, "Of course I'd choose a perspective that makes me happy! Why would I make myself miserable?"
But the truth is, we do that all the time in the name of being right. We don't want to admit that we're lazy or ignorant or incapable, so we create worldviews that are justify our suffering:
- I'm poor because the distribution of wealth is unfair. If you don't have the right connections/heritage/hair color, you're just doomed. That's the way things are, so there's nothing I can or should do about it.
- I'm weak because of my genetics. There's nothing I can do to change it, and while I may hate it, it's just something I need to accept.
- I'm lonely because girls are shallow and can't see the value in a nice guy. If I have to be a jerk to get noticed, I'd rather just be lonely.
- I'm poor because I the right opportunity hasn't come alone yet. When it does, I'll know and it'll fit my life and schedule and abilities and preferences, and then everything will just fall into place.
- I'm lonely because I haven't met the right guy yet. When I do, he'll be so perfect and understanding and easy to talk to that I'll just come out of my shell right then.
- I'm strong/rich/desirable because I was born that way.
All of these perspectives provide excuses, even the last few. A disempowering perspective on positive traits robs you of the ability to grow or improve, and if you should lose your 'birthright' how can you get it back if you never believed you earned it in the first place?
Here are some alternatives:
- I'm weak because I don't train the way I need to in order to become strong. I can learn and I can make time. If I don't, that's my choice, but at least I have the power to have the fitness I want.
- I'm poor because I don't yet understand the skills necessary to create wealth. I can expand my networks, learn how to market myself, etc.
- I'm lonely because I don't always present myself in the best light. So I can learn how to put my best self out there.
- I'm healthy because I train consistently and eat well. If I encounter issues, I have the power to fix them, and I am always looking for ways to improve.
First Yourself, then The World!
Some of the more interesting perspectives I've encountered:
Most people can't be Olympic athletes, so there's no point is building up your expectations.
This might be true, but how would you ever know if you qualify until you actually try? The genetic argument doesn't make sense because you can't know if you have 'gold medal' genes until you put in all the work to find out. And you can bet Olympians work their butts off anyway.
"Starting a business is risky. Most businesses fail, so I shouldn't take that chance."
This is true, but it's also true that there are a lot of businesses out there. Some of them succeed. You could be one of them. Many fail and then succeed. You could be one of those, too.
"I can't change the world or do anything really significant. I'm just one person."
So was MLK Jr. So was Gandhi. So were the Buddhas (oh yes, I'll happily compare your potential to the Awakened Ones. They were merely human after all). Steve Jobs, Pete Cashmore, Mark Zuckerburg, Christopher McDougall, the director of your favorite movie, your favorite author.
Some made big impacts. Some made small ones. They probably didn't set out to do it, but you shouldn't write yourself off. At the very least, hold back from passing judgement on this one.
"Big expectations are dangerous. I'll probably fail and then I'll feel even worse. Better to simply expect mediocrity."
It's true: reaching for a lofty goal means you have farther to fall. It also means you have farther to climb. Fear of failure is a great reason to keep our dreams so small they aren't even worth pursuing.
Each of these perspectives has a kernel of truth, but so does the opposite. Whether you expect great things of yourself and your life or simply believe you have no control is up to you. Either perspective may be true, but you can bet you're more likely to have a good time with the first.
Playing with mindsets and empowering your Warrior Spirit is difficult and often vague work. That's why there's a newsletter, with a single concrete exercise you can do each week to work on yourself. Sign up here.
Photo credit: extranoise on Flickr