How many companies would be destroyed if only people realized they had the ability to cure themselves? As technology simplifies our lives, our problems, fears, health, anxiety, and existential crises actually grow at almost the same speed. The explosion of information has lead us to an explosion of images, products, and worldviews to compare ourselves against, to be influenced by, and to be sold to. I’m not anti-technology by any stretch, but anyone can admit that many of our problems have transferred from ‘reality’ to a ‘virtual reality.’
This is expected as this is how everything in the world is going. Forget about the gold standard, cash, checks… even credit cards are being phased out. Apple pay and Bitcoins are the future. No more tapes and CDs, now all music is digital. Books and movies are digital. So our problems also become digital as well.
As illustration: It used to be that we’d date and marry the people in our immediate or near immediate circles. The funny guy in our group of friends. The cute girl who works at Starbucks. The hot dude in the office. But now long gone are the days when you dated the people you know, because there are an almost infinite number of dating possibilities offered by apps. And what’s more, you only see them superficially, which makes all the stats easily interchangeable. Why settle for a 5’5 guy when a 5’11 guy is only two swipes away? Why put up with someone attractive with limited intelligence when you are sure there’s a comparatively attractive person with more intelligence somewhere out there? And once we get married, do our spouses stay as skinny, or make as much money, or keep their youthful hairline as our friends’ spouses? Little do we realize that every study on the matter shows the more options people have to compare with, the harder it is for them to make decisions and be happy with the decisions that are made.
Take the Facebook/LinkedIn Syndrome as example 2. Whereas we used to have only a few people to compare our grades, success, money, and lifestyle with, suddenly we’re seeing the vacations, new cars, Harvard diplomas, and washboard abs of everyone we’ve ever spoken to longer than two minutes. And what’s worse is we only see what they want us to see (and project and equally flat and superficial view of ourselves) without considering the hard work, or extenuating circumstances, or sacrifices they had to make to get them there. So conscience or not, our minds are being warped by living in the ocean of the surreal. Just imagine how boring our lives can seem once you spend any serious time involved in some of the entertainment of today; from the EDM festivals to the zombie movies, from Sons of Anarchy to the Bachelor?
So suffice to say that while the world is easier per say thanks to Google Express, Wikipedia, and Netflix, it’s also a lot more difficult because our minds are focused on so many more things that aren’t real/relevant, and our ability to think is compromised because we are consistently being bombarded with an endless flow of new information. Whereas scholars of old would contemplate one idea deeply in order to arrive at a profound understanding, now at best we try to memorize the top 20 articles on BuzzFeed or Yahoo Finance.
The good news is that since the solution is in the mind, because all of the problems start in the mind. As Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, the Rabbis of the Talmud, Jack Canfield, Viktor Frankl and just about any other expert on the mind not in the back pocket of the drug companies (shudder, that was harsh) say, it’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s how you respond. Excluded of course are people with actual chemical imbalances. You decide what you’re going to make an issue about and what you’re going to not let bother you. You figure out what you’re going to appreciate and be happy about and what’s going to hurt you.
I always tell my clients that the battle against being fat is waged in your head. Are you eating because you’re unhappy or because you’re hungry? Are you really hungry or are you bored? Do you need the food or just want the momentary taste? And if you do just want the taste is it worth not fitting into your pants? Same with money. Do you really need that job or internship or would you be far smarter learning about investments, money, and building a business? Do you invest in the run of the mill college education, or figure out what you think you want to do before you start? Is fear the driving factor behind your decisions or are your really living the life you want?
I’ve lived this concept this year more than I ever have had to before in my life. I’ve had to change my internal monologue. I’ve had to change what I spoke about, because what you articulate is what you think, and consequently what happens. I have worked tirelessly to tell myself I’m a winner, I’m talented, I can be physically fit, and I can offer encouragement to people. I’ve told myself I can support my family, and become wealthy. And finally, while some of my affirmations are in the process of happening and others have happened, it all follows as a result of me convincing myself its possible. That’s a very empowering idea—you can create whatever you want, as long as you realize it starts in your head and your speech, and doesn’t just happen to you. And the flipside is also true; the more time you spend complaining, and articulating your problems, you’re actually concretizing the problems and making them REAL! There are always two ways to deal with life; from weakness or from power. Do you say “we can’t afford that” or “how can we afford that?” Do you say “Why am I fat” or do you say “How can I lead a healthy lifestyle?” Same question, usually radically different outcome. And it’s all in your head.