It seems over-simplistic to say, but life gets easier the more you deal with reality. And the opposite is true; the more we tell ourselves stories that don’t fit with reality, the more frustrating and difficult life can be.
We experience life through a filter. That filter is our thinking, and our thinking includes all the subsets of thought – emotions, biases, habits, values, unconscious actions and reactions, and of course our overall philosophy and attitude toward life. We tell ourselves stories based loosely on reality. Of course, it’s not possible to experience life without thinking (or emotions or philosophy), and that would be robotic and wholly un-human. However, we can improve our life by aligning our thinking more with reality, and less with our self-created stories.
It starts with awareness, being able to recognize the difference between reality and your story, especially in the moment.
The next step is believing in making a mindset change. You have to believe your life will be better if you start to let go of the stories and deal with reality.
Like all skills, this takes practice. At first you’ll be terrible, but with discipline and practice you’ll gain mastery, and it will come easily.
Once this shift in mindset becomes a habit, you’ll be seeing much different results in life. You’ll feel more happy, more in control of life, and life will feel much easier. Continue to evaluate your thinking, reactions and decisions, and your results will follow suit.
This is not profound or mystical, it’s just not common thinking. It’s found in everything from ancient philosophy to the Bible to Buddhism to books about athletic performance, business excellence, and wealth.
It’s not hard to see that you will always get better results if you play according to how the game actually works, instead of playing by the convoluted and self-serving rules you’ve created. It doesn’t matter who you are or how hard you try – if you’re not dealing with reality you’ll always have poor results, frustration, stress, anxiety and unhappiness.
So, start with Awareness. Catch yourself making up stories in a life situation today. Listen to what you’re telling yourself, drag it out onto the examination table, and see if it’s real or not. Chances are if it’s causing you pain it’s not anything close to reality, and can be removed from your thinking. Every time you do that, your life gets better.