Countless spiritual, psychological and philosophical doctrines are rooted in the belief of “mind over matter.” That is, our mental processes, motivations, approaches and general demeanors are powerful over many of life’s physical forces. Under this rubric, our mental state can be the ticket to success or the doorway to failure for any number of our goals. The bottom line is that if you think positively and position yourself for success, you can overcome a whole lot of the poopy situations life can hand you.
I’ve long been a believer of this principle; yet when faced with actually executing it during a challenging time, I struggle. My brain jumps into overthinking mode. I revert to old patterns of letting self-defeating thoughts prevail. I tell myself “I think I can I think I can,” but unlike The Little Engine That Could, I run away when I get to the base of the hill.
What’s weird about this thought process – for me specifically and I’m sure for so many others – is that I’m a much happier person when I’m at the top of the hill. So why am I so resistant to changing my mindset to get there?
It’s not as if I enjoy being in a crummy spot. But the mental homework required to get out of them seems overwhelming when feeling a little off-kilter. And – let’s face it – contrary to the whole “it takes many more muscles to frown…” philosophy – snapping out of it can be hard work.
But it’s possible. And it’s worth it. Getting beyond a rough patch can be as fulfilling as completing a marathon or climbing a mountain. I was reminded of this when I read a post from The Brand Builder called “Embracing Obstacles.”
In it, the blogger writes: “Experience builds confidence. Experience breeds forethought and insight. Experience takes doubt, uncertainty, and fear out of the equation.”
For some reason that stuck with me. Could it be that I have what it takes based on past experiences to bring confidence, forethought and insight to these challenges? Is it possible that the life I’ve led will eliminate – or at least drastically reduce – the doubt, uncertainty and fear? Of course it’s true. I know it’s true.
That knowledge of having earned the ability to manage these situations deftly needs to be front and center when I’m up against a wall. As the blogger wrote, no matter what you’re facing “Make it happen.” And perhaps that’s all I need to know. If I’m feeling defeated, look beyond that and make it happen. If I’m feeling scared, trust that my experience will help me overcome it – then make it happen. If I’m feeling nervous, gain stability in the fact that life has given me plenty of reasons to regain confidence, which will let me make it happen.
Who knows, I may just be able to channel my inner Little Engine after all.