Therapy is a booming industry, anxiety is peaking, and stress is a becoming Pinochet in the rush, hum, and bustle of modern society. People generally are feeling overwhelmed. Swamped. There’s too much going on, too much seemingly falling apart, too much information, so much to do, so much to see, and so little time to get it all done!!
Can you relate?
Stress is a becoming pandemic. People feel bottled up, always tied down to a Blackberry, multi-tasking, thinking ahead in a string of somersaults about everything under the sun ranging from finances to their kid’s education, their personal life, and the what if of Tuesday against the what if of 2014.
The common misconception to solving stress and the common cause of stress actually boil down to the same thing: capability. Too often people impose limits on themselves, which reminds me of a great quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And not just love.
People have a tendency to saddle into what they think they deserve, and when you buckle into something you’re not passionate about or slip into a third tier expectation of what you take and give in life, well, you’re leaving the barn door open for stress, regret, and avoidable misery.
You are capable. Capable of overcoming, succeeding, and becoming a better person. The key begins with conditioning yourself to accept that conviction. Waking up, looking in the mirror, and telling yourself: ‘I am capable.’
This is where spirituality comes into play.
First off, dissociate religion from spirituality. Religion is an organized medium for practicing spirituality. Church is nothing more than an outlet for expression, community, and venting when it comes down to it. The Islamic practices of Shahadah and Salat, respectively the admission of faith and prayers, on a fundamental level are nothing more than methodologies for spiritual awareness. The pursuit of enlightenment in Buddhism is one of many paths for spiritual awakening. All of them provide positive concourses and approaches for nursing spirituality and reassuring one’s capability in overcoming in life.
The issue, though, is that, at the core, organized religions are anchored in the religious founders’ individual methods of a promising spiritual pursuit. Realize that you are capable of recognizing and pursuing the same holistic path men like Buddha and Jesus carved out by simply acknowledging the undeniable fact that every human being on this planet, to some degree, has the potential to come to achieve their own spiritual enlightenment independently. I mean, a creator wouldn’t slide us down with chute without the proper emergency equipment, right?
I’m an avid mountaineering enthusiast for several reasons, one being self-reliability and capability. In 1978, explorer Reinhold Messner topped out on Everest at over 28,000 feet without ever needing supplementary oxygen. What an incredible feat, a pushing of every and all limits! And what did that take Messner- besides a hell of a lot of training and experience? A self-realization that he was capable.
“The only limits in our life are those we impose on ourselves.” – Bob Proctor
Take a critical look at your own life, even the tiniest decisions you never really consider that, in fact, have an enormous outcome on your life. The five minutes you take to fuel your car, the extra thirteen seconds you spend brushing your teeth, the two minutes spent getting a coffee. At the end of the day, those subtle, mistakenly insignificant seconds can unravel in opportunities and occurrences you otherwise might not have had- for good or for bad.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Maryann Burns happened to run late and missed her morning train to work. Chris Crosby and Jim Johnson both happened to take that same day off for a field trip. Howard Lutnick planned on coming in late so he could take his kid to his first day of kindergartner. Minute decisions for all four individuals saved their lives on 9/11. That is how powerful and incredible a single, considerably insignificant decision can become.
Certainly, this realization and episodes such as those force us to ask: Why me? Why this? Why now? Without answers, futility often becomes the default. Sure, extraneous circumstances load the dice, make you think you’re not in control. If complete control is what you want, then stay on the couch. If liberated control is what you’re after, embrace life and realize that the decisions you make open up opportunities. When the curtain is pulled, it’s you who takes a situation for what it’s worth, it’s you that chooses to find the opportunity even in the shade of grey, and it’s you who tells yourself whether or not you’re capable of moving forward.