Looking in the rear-view mirror
Yesterday I was working with someone who has been stuck in unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving for some time. I was really interested in the thought patterns going on inside his mind. He told me he had a really good understanding of what was happening for him and how his mind worked, what had happened for him that had led to this point, why events in his past had affected him so badly, and why he was still struggling now.
It made me think of a story I’ve heard about someone who decided to research depression. He diligently began finding people who were depressed and interviewing them, reading about depression, and seeking out and digesting anything he could in order to fully understand depression. Then, several months into his research, he noticed that he himself was becoming depressed. He was spending so much time surrounding himself with certain kinds of thinking and behaving, that he started taking them on himself. Upon realising this, the researcher made a decision. He decided to give up his study of depression, and start studying happiness instead!
If we want to move forward, there are two main things we need to know – where we are now and where we want to go. Consider a GPS – those are the two key pieces of information we need. The GPS doesn’t care why we are where we are, and it doesn’t care where we were last week, it just wants to know where we are now and where we’re going next so it can figure out how to get us there. My client had fallen in to the trap of looking at where he’d been and where he was now to try and figure out how to move forward. But as I saw quoted a few days ago, you can’t start a new chapter of your life if you keep rereading the previous ones.
If you want to move forward, the first thing to figure out is where you want to go. Once this is clear, then you can start figuring out how to get there. If you want to find happiness, the way to do that is not through studying depression. If you want to gain wealth, it’s not helpful to talk to people who struggle to pay the bills each month. Instead find the people who are happy, find the people who are financially abundant, start doing what they do, and start thinking the way they think. Then you will be able to start moving forward in the way you want to.