Tut Tut Get Out of That Rut

August 14, 2016

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible
for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month. - Theodore Roosevelt

I just read an article about self-made millionaire, James Altucher, whose life has gone from a 5,000 square foot apartment in Tribeca to owning 15 things and making a living by simply sharing how he's learned from his mistakes. The first half of the article, I was like, 'Ugh, this guy. . . TYPICAL!!' But then it went into how he has taken ownership of troubles he brought upon himself and changed how he looks at life. The biggest impression I have walked away with is not that I can earn a million dollars if I only make smart enough decisions, but that wisdom is all about learning from and building on your mistakes. If I get stuck in a rut and decide to stay in it or repeat the same patterns that led me there, I have learned nothing. Wisdom is experiencing enough to hone the ability to see and do what's best for oneself. And I seek to be DALAI LAMA WISE, son!

Why, I bet we can can all say we know someone who's literally the worst and is basically one big cycle of the same poor behavior. 'Oops! I didn't mean to become such a rude, stinky crab!' Those people maybe never think that, though, or else they'd be showing SOME signs of self-evaluation while showing less signs of being a total bloop on the human spirit.

The people that I hold in the highest regard are those who are not juggling problems that they create for themselves, but managing life's difficulties as they need to and doing their damnedest to work it all out to their best advantage. My favorite example of this is JK Rowling. She was just about as depressed as could be: destitute, single mother, and her own mother died too young. Yet she managed to become the Walt Disney of our age. She moved away from her toxic baby daddy and focused her energies on being well. All of her best characters are people whose lives are anything but smooth sailing and who still choose to act courageously. Dumbledore, the wisest of them all, made some of the worst mistakes in his youthful pursuit of power and you know what? I still want to be that bearded, hippy wizard.

We've all been told in difficult times to 'be strong,' but what does that even mean? It's not about how much you cry or how happy you can pretend do be. I have only just come to realize that it's about weathering the storm and believing that you will come out stronger and happier. Keep going despite the meltdown. I still need to curtail the things I say and who I'm saying them to when I feel stressed, but the biggest point that I need to ensure sinks in is that I will be fine. It is an anchor in the current. If I'm not drowning in hopelessness, I can look at my role in what happened and feel the comfort of knowing I can depend on myself to try something different next time or even prevent a next time from happening.

If I make a mistake and let my ego get in the way, if I feel so prideful that I try to hide away in embarrassment, I will be living with it forever. If I try to move past it and better myself from experience, I will find all memory of those mistakes fade by simple lack of attention. I don't create more problems for myself if I avoid reacting defensively. Handling it all calmly is how I win the house cup for Gryffindor and regain the points taken away when I got in trouble for being out of bed after hours.

I have a tendency to overthink everything and hesitate for fear of not doing something as well as I'd like others to know I'm capable of. As this article points out, I need to get over my expectations and just do what I enjoy because I am the only person who really cares about what I do. I guess what I am thinking about as I write this - and the point of it - is that our imperfections allow us to learn to exist better among others and we learn how to exist better for ourselves. Ego gets in the way of so much in life. It turns discussions into arguments, prevents people from expressing themselves fully, and closes the mind to lifestyles that contradict our own.

I don't have to make all the big mistakes myself if I make enough of my own to then realize I don't know everything and value how easy it is to look to others who've made different mistakes. Hardships, too, come along and offer immediate opportunity to see how I might make changes. I have found that my admiration drifts towards those with the most stable emotional intelligence and self-reliance. When I look at my role, my ability to take control of my reaction to life, I begin to see the value in experiences rather than the inconvenience of all the tough ones. Every difficult moment is a chance to meet my own expectations or understand how I might.

Life has begun to change for me and I hope I keep it going. My actions may be the source of many of my own worries, but I am also the solution to almost any problem I have, whether it was my fault or not, and that is a magnificent thing.


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