I read your stuff and other similar stuff because I have a lot of pressure associated with my job. You have said that people “live in their thinking,” but I’m not getting what you mean with that. Could I get a clarification on that please, sir?
Cool. Thanks for asking. Let’s take a look at this “pressure” you’re under. What exactly is pressure? It’s the sensation you get when you use your power of thought to assess the amount to be done and the deadline, and yet your brain can already feel that you’re trying to fit 75 marbles into a 50 marble jar. So you can say you’re reacting to the “reality” of the situation, but your reality is formed by what you’re thinking about. That is your life experience.
The chemical reaction of anxiety (aka pressure) is created in your mind by thinking about a future that has not yet happened. For all you know in one hour the boss could call and say there’s been a mistake, we’re adding a bunch of jar-space, we’re all good. That could happen. So the pressure isn’t about the actual situation because we won’t know what that is until we get to the deadline. The pressure is about your thoughts about what might happen. That’s pretty ephemeral. Relaxing and being happier starts to look easier and easier, doesn’t it?
Do you follow sports? Whether you do or you don’t, I’ll let you in on a well-known fact: the superstars are always intensely passionate about the game. They always have this zeal and you can somehow sense their intense desire to win. This comes from wanting to engage with every aspect of the sport. Despite the fact that they get checked twice as hard, they still excel. There is a drive that emerges from their passionate desire to understand what they are doing. They always want to know more. So rather than having minds busy with egocentric thoughts about their own comfort or status, elite athletes are constantly trying to pick up new skills to employ in their general pursuit of excellence.
Forget thinking about what will happen around the work you’re doing. Just focus on the work. If there are 75 marbles and you have a 50 marble jar then write the appropriate memo outlining your concern and define when the situation will become critical, and then get back to work. Don’t think about anything that doesn’t put marbles in jars. Yes, that can include some pretty abstract ideas relating to human nature and behaviour, but bottom line your focus is on bettering your game, not on explaining any deficiencies, real or otherwise, or in imagining possible outcomes. Just focus on the moment you’re in.
The only way you can learn new tricks is to be watching the world around you closely. So stop thinking and start observing. Because there’s a whole world going on out here, and there’s cool discoveries being made every day. Immerse yourself in all that. Observe. As an activity. Just observe. No yakking. No self-talk. Just observing. No judgment. No opinion. No comment. Just observing. Remove the filter of You. Just Be. It’s a beautiful place to spend your day.
Have a great one. Make it that way. Turn your concerns into grace. It’s in you to do.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.