“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
– Lou Holtz (former American footballer, coach, and analyst)
Our obsession with three things causes us an enormous amount of stress. These three are Control, Consummation, and Comfort.
You want to expand your business and attain three times the profit that you earned last year. That’s great, but what if you don’t achieve it? Some refuse to accept that they may not really get everything they want or worse they may face losses. The inability to let go control of your life causes tension. The body, for instance, would get old even if you hide all your wrinkles and dye your hair daily. As Time strikes, are we ready to accept the changes? If yes, acceptance catapults us to a higher level of happiness. If no, the pain of losing control could be excruciating; in fact, it would likely be much more than the pleasure that controls brought to your life.
If a CEO refuses to empower his subordinates and wishes to micromanage everything, he’d be not only unpopular with his team but also remain stressed and frustrated when he sees things are beyond his control.
When I wrote my first book, I was desperate to make it a perfect piece. No matter what I tried, the editor always had some room for improvement for me. The more I sought perfection, the more elusive it became. To consummate a relationship or make your report flawless may be a good motivation, but too much of it breaks you rather than builds you.
It’s healthy to excel, but to seek perfection is disastrous. The difference? Excellence is when you slowly but surely improve and move forward. Perfection, on the other hand, is when you attain the ultimate; there’s no more improvement possible. You are God in that field! Not only is this an unattainable position, but also highly stress inducing. Once you have perfected something, there’s nothing more to learn or know! Better be imperfect and grow rather than be a perfect non-learner! Life has beautiful lessons to offer, and only one who accepts himself with all his imperfections can grow and learn them happily.
I met one young man Trevor who shared an interesting realization: ‘Five years ago I earned a fortune and my income increased by ten times, but I saw my happiness and capacity to enjoy didn’t increase substantially. But recently when I lost a big amount in my business, I was devastated; the pain was real and intense. I realized that pain in this world is a harsh reality and a powerful emotion as compared to the pleasant experiences.’
Life is not comfortable; we always face disappointments and pain. The more we think ‘I need to enjoy’ the more we invite misery. Better focus on something meaningful to do than seek constant pleasures in life.
Lebanese-American poet and writer Khalil Gibran said, “Our anxiety doesn’t come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” Therefore now is the time to let go control.
When we replace Control, Consummation, and Comfort with the three A’s: Awareness, Acceptance, and Aspiration, we find life refreshing and fulfilling.