What’s better: when good stuff happens to you, or bad? Mull on that for a bit as you read on.
I’ve just spent three days on an emotional rollercoaster. I was attending a workshop with Thought Leaders Business School to help me sharpen my thinking for how I run my business. Hugely beneficial. But not always fun. I reckon I experienced the full range of human emotions, from elation to anger, and everything in between.
Here’s a cross-section:
- The morning of the first day (full of swagger): “yeah, I’m energised and engaged. This is good”.
- Lunchtime on the second day: “this is doing my head in. I hate this. This is bad”.
- The end of the last day: “I’m focused and calm. This is good.”
What’s interesting about this is not so much the range of emotions, but the judgement I was putting on them.
For instance, at lunchtime on the second day, I was like a fly in a jar, bouncing around trying to get rid of the frustration and anger I was feeling. I wanted to run away to somewhere that gave me back that ‘good’ feeling I had on the morning of the first day.
I’m glad I didn’t. Instead, I checked in with a mentor, who helped me to stand back and see that what I was experiencing was pretty much normal. I began to realise that my angst was a signal that I was at my learning edge. I was being challenged to examine some of my beliefs about what I was about. And a part of me didn’t want to do that. My mentor encouraged me to sit with the feeling, be curious, and let go of everything needing to be OK.
And of course, that made all the difference. If I didn’t stick with it, I doubt I’d have grown from the experience, or got to the focused and calm mindset I had on the third day.
Back to the initial question. A trick, of course. Loaded with judgemental words. Better, good, bad. It’s not about what’s better. It’s how you use the experience.
Our western culture has a meme, and it goes like this: move towards ‘good’, move away from ‘bad’. I say “No”. Life will throw you ups and downs. That’s what makes it interesting. Flat line = death.
Those highs and lows are where the opportunities lie to show what you’re about. How you use those experiences, how you grow from them, is what makes you, you.
Savour the peaks, embrace the troughs. And avoid the flat line at all costs.
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