By Jay Forte
I finally had to turn off the news yesterday. So much cynicism and negative events fill virtually every moment of the broadcast – I think I had had it with sensationalizing the negative. There were so many challenges and battles between people, and within organizations and the government. There are few other words to describe this moment in time than “weird.” What is with our inability to find common ground, care for and respect each other, and value our planet?
Though our world may be weird (and I wonder if every generation says this), it is still our time and place to have an amazing life – weird world or not. Maybe we need two options: how to cope with its weirdness and possibly learn how to undo the weirdness so we won’t have to always just cope.
As an energy coach (a coach who observes, assesses and integrates our normal and stress-induced energies as a means of achieving greater productivity, happiness and success), I am aware that we as a population resonate at a low catabolic (negative) level of energy. This is primarily due to our self focus. Our brain helps us with this narrow perspective because it his hardwired to ensure we survive; our first reactions are always to think about ourselves. This includes the fight-or-flight reaction in stressful situations or in periods of change. So, we show up ready to run or duke it out, always focusing on me, me, me. Though this may help us survive, in the long run it doesn’t seem that this kind of “survival” is anything to aspire to.
Author Seth Godin calls our fight-or-flight or reactionary brain, our lizard brain. This is us in “autopilot” – reacting instead of responding. This gives me amazing hope because there are times when we all can move from react to respond – from auto pilot lizard brain to thinking it through/being intentional. You can imagine that much of my coaching work is helping people see their reaction and learn to shift from it to intentional responses. Here in lies information in how to find our way in our weird world.
What to do?
We can cope. Sometimes realizing that things are the way they are allows us to stop fighting with them and start to accept what is. Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth that to be connected to a great life, we should always be in only one if these 3 states of mind: acceptance (hey, it is what it is), enjoyment (hey, I really like this) or enthusiasm (hey, this rocks). Anything less limits or diminishes us. So, realizing that the world is as it is can encourage us to take it as it is and cope by accepting what is. We can do this but I think this is accepting average instead of greatness.
Or, we can choose to change today’s weirdness. What are our options for change? I think it goes back to understanding personal energy. The more we focus on ourselves, the less connected we are to others. We don’t see their intrinsic greatness; we don’t value them and their lives as much as ours. To move our world out of weird, we will each need to be more present and aware – more conscious and mindful. Because as we start to show up more to the moments of our lives, we have more information and have greater clarity to be able to be more intentional in how we choose what we do next. This means not letting our lizard brain take over; instead, we access our creative brain. We move out of reaction into intentional responses. When we take the time to understand that everyone is born awesome and are just trying to figure out how to show up to life, we can be more aware, empathetic, connected and less self-focused. This expands our energy and our opportunities. We can truly move our world out of weird and into great. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.
So how do we find our way in a weird world? We can cope. Or, we could realize that we have the ability to change it. Start with you. Stop, think, assess, choose more wisely and more intentionally; don’t react, respond. Then encourage this in your family, friends workplace, social networks and soon the world. Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but imagine what that world would be like.
We never need to accept weirdness as our standard. Though our fundamental brains just want to keep ourselves safe, our more advanced brains can rise above – choose more wisely, see more opportunities and see the greatness in each being. Be present. Gather information. Be intentional. That is how it is done. I’m in, how about you?