What’s Your Why?

There was an app my daughter used to have on her phone some years back called Wishbone.  It was a game that gives you opposite options and asks which one you would rather choose, for example, “if you could only have hot or only have cold water, which would you choose”? I was reminded of this game when picking my daughter up from her dance class.  She got in the car complaining her dance teacher was picking on her all night, rectifying every step she made.  I then asked her “would you prefer your teacher to pick on you or ignore you”? “Definitely pick on me was her response, being ignored is terrible”.  So why am I telling you this?

Most of the time when I am dealing with clients, they come in with a presenting problem and tell me about their predicament in life. As we delve into it and explore options of making sense of it for them, there is one thing that is apparent.  There is no such thing as perfect.  There are pros and cons to every situation. That is where our suffering lies. We live with the fairytale of a perfect solution. There is no such thing.

A lot of life is about facing life as it is. Not as we want it to be, not as we think it should be, just as it is. If we can lean into life without judgement and try and understand, there will never be a perfect scenario. The best we can do is choose our suffering. For instance, we either suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret.

Anxiety lies in the indecision. The indecision comes when we do not have a big enough reason why. Let me explain. If I asked you to walk a tight rope across two buildings, would you, do it? I am assuming the answer would be NO. However, if your child was in severe danger at the other end of the building and the only way to potentially save them was by walking across the tightrope, would you do it then? I know this is quite extreme, but you get the point. The event of walking the tightrope is still the same, but the why you would do it is different. If you know your why, you can endure any ‘how’.

A lot of the time change only happens under duress. I knew a guy, let’s call him Steve, who was comfortably married, overweight and a bit of a couch potato. Basically, Steve was a heart attack waiting to happen. At his annual checkup, his doctor did an amazing thing. He could have just told Steve his cholesterol was through the roof and given him the tablets to take. This doctor however asked him “do you have children”. In casual conversation, the Steve said, “yes I have a beautiful daughter who is 5”. The wise doctor then asked him how it would feel for another man to walk his daughter down the aisle one day. Steve said it felt like a dagger went through him. The doctor leveled with him and said unless he starts taking care of himself, that would be the prognosis. Well, lazy Steve kicked into gear and joined up with an outdoor training group, changed his diet and got his life on track. Steve said every time the early alarm went off at 5 am and even it was raining outside, even though his friends cancelled, he put on his training gear and went. Steve’s “why” was big enough for him to endure any “how”. Steve picked his suffering.

I wanted to land in your inbox today to encourage you to choose your suffering and to remind you to find your why. You see it is through the suffering we find happiness. Ask any high achiever. It is never the result that gives them long-lasting happiness. When elite athletes win the trophy it lasts for a day, a week a month and then there is an anticlimax. However, it is through the progress of advancing in their craft that they find meaning and happiness. Progress equals happiness. It is not the destination that matters it is the journey.

If you are wanting to dive into 2022 and create the change instead of changing under duress, I am thinking of setting up a Facebook group to gather a like-minded community together. This will be a forum to keep yourself accountable, chat with like-minded people, have resources on hand and I will pop in for weekly live classes and Q and A’s. If this is something that interests you, please can you email me for more information?

In the meantime, I hope your journey into 2022 is one of meaning, progress, and ultimate happiness.

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