As I move into a new phase in my life I often consider how I got here and how I should move forward; a minor incident this week also got me thinking about my philosophy in general. I won’t bore you with the details; it was a minor thing, an accident that damaged a material object that has no intrinsic value just a functional item. I was “oh, oh well. No point getting upset, it’s done now. Maybe it can be resolved we’ll see.” my girlfriend was more upset and annoyed and emotional about it and even called me out on why I wasn’t equally upset.
I realised that in the last few years I live much more in the now where disappointment, regret, and and also fear doesn’t exist. Not that I am immune to them, I’m no super hero, but fear is is worrying about what might happen which is living in the future and regret is worrying about has has happened and so is living in the past. Living in the now means those things have much less impact. Living in the now is deciding what I’m going to do next. Obviously I think about the future and have to make plans for it, it would be irresponsible not to (also my job kinda demands it). But I am naturally more of a reactive sole. I’m not being a fatalist here; I’m not say take whatever happens. I generally fit into the Taoist thinking. Taoism suggests that you understand your goals and behave in a way that allows them to happen. If I was to go all guru-like I would talk about rivers and rather than riding it to see where it goes or damming it to push it in another direction or paddle upstream you open a new channels and see if it follows you.
I have gone through a fair amount in my life; big changes and heartache nothing life threatening or devastating but for a long time I lived in pain, wallowed in it you might say, I couldn’t see a way out; fear kept me there. Then a few things happened, an opportunity came my way and rather than fearing what might happen I said “okay, I’ll try this out and see what happens” and what happened was good. My problems were still there though, they hadn’t gone away, I was just taking a holiday from them. I knew I had to face them. Fear came in again; “what if?” started my thought processes. Then a friend said something that helped. When I talked about the hard things I felt I needed to do; he said “It will be hard, it will feel like shit for a while, there will be more pain and upset. But then it will be over and then life will get better and this short period of immense pain will be just something that happened and you will have moved on and you’ll be happy” … and he was right.
I had already realised that my decision to act on the earlier opportunity was a good thing and subsequent opportunities had also been seized so I knew that action can only happen in the now (away from fear or disappointment).
This post has rambled on a bit so to bring this back to the title. You can spend a lot of effort worrying about what might happen, you can waste a lot of time thinking about what has happened and how bad it is. But unless you can bring yourself into the now and act nothing much will change and move in the direction you need/want it to. Your life is what you make it, yes bad things will happen (have happened) but to dwell on them restricts you from doing anything and life will continue with hopes and dreams that will never come to be. I’m not saying everything in life will be perfect and as you want it, things happen, it’s how you react to them that matters. When a bad thing happens you can accept it and move on or wallow in it and get stuck. Fear will always find excuses to not do something ,so don’t listen; do it! Whatever it is, do it. If it goes wrong, deal with it and do something else.
I will close with this. You may not know Bruce Lee as a philosopher but he did have a strong philosophy that he often shared. He said “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” more directly related to this he also said “Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail” which means it is better to try and fail than to never try at all.