Downhill

The effort we put into avoiding difficult conversations.

The energy we invest into keeping that bad feeling at bay.

The thoughts we dedicate to finding ways to reduce uncertainty.

That’s what makes everything more difficult, bad, and uncertain.

When you accept that as a part of being a colleague, a leader, a partner, a friend, a parent, a human being, then the rest of the journey is downhill.

I’m not suggesting that we should cease efforts to alleviate pain, our own or that of others. But as psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp was keenly aware, our “mistaken belief that it can be cured” is what makes pain unbearable.

Ed Batista, Pain Is Mandatory. Suffering Is Optional.

Caution does not spread

It might be that everyone is out there waiting for you to come out with the new feature. Perhaps your detractors are just waiting for you to trip and your competitors can’t wait to see the sneak peek of your new product. Somebody for sure has also set an alert to track everything that you are doing and beat you to it.

Or maybe not.

The point is that the time you spend worrying about all these unlikely scenarios – let’s accept it, in most cases we are not that important – is time you could invest to put your work out there and get people excited about it.

Caution does not spread.

Winning mentality

When we lose, it’s easy to play down the whole situation.

It was not so important after all.

Others were lucky.

That single decision was unfair and really cut my chances.

I did not give my best, but if I would have..

The context was heavily against me.

It’s a defence mechanism that puts space between us and the failure so that we don’t feel like such. And it tells of a tendency to see loss as failure.

Of course, if we want to avoid losing more in the future, we’d be better off by owning the loss and trying to see what went wrong. What it is that is under our control and that we can do better.

That’s the sign of a winning mentality.

Sportsmanship

You have challenges, difficulties, competitors, people who are definitely not on your side, the world out there that’s trying to make it even more complicated, personal problems, injuries, thoughts, feelings, uncertainties. And that can take you to dark places sometimes.

We all go through the same stuff. The best way to navigate all that is to spot this common ground and build a shared view. When you make of sportsmanship your credo, you’ll find that life is suddenly easier.

Before and after

What you are today is nothing compared to what you will be tomorrow.

And what you are today is massively more compared to what you were yesterday.

Life is continuous progress. Many look for success in what lies ahead – I will have more – while at the same time regretting the lack of what once was – I was better off. The point is to completely revert the perspective, and start measuring success looking at the path so far while aspiring to what comes next.

It’s always the journey, not the destination.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Epicurus