You must unlearn what you have learned. – Yoda
There are so many influences on our lives that is becomes almost impossible to know what to listen to anymore. Granted, it may all be subjective but there are still some underlying truths out there. Aren’t there?
Regardless, sometimes we need to unlearn some common misbeliefs in order to advance ourselves.
Problems are bad
Most of our schooling was spent solving arbitrary problems by boring authority figures. We learned that problems suck. The unfortunate side effect of this is that people without real problems go mad an invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are a wondrous thing, each carrying the seeds of its own perfect solution. Sucky jobs push you towards your dream career. Awful relationships teach us what true love actually is. Overly complicated tax forms teach us to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Losing your ships in each teaches you better strategies – hopefully.
Finding the solution to each problem is one of the core excitements of life.
Happiness is important
Solving problems can help us be happy, but we don’t have to be happy to have a good sense of well-being. Crazy, I know. Fine. Don’t believe it, let me prove it to you myself. Focus on something that makes you completely miserable for a moment. Then think “I must stay happy!” Stressful. Instead, say “It’s ok to feel as I need to feel in order to get through it”.
Allowing yourself to experience all emotions is part of the foundation for well-being.
I’m irreparably damaged by my past
Painful events leave scars, yes, but we can move beyond that. For example, reading this post, questioning your habitual thoughts, that’s enough to start changing old patterns. Take any issues that concern you and think of three reasons why what you believe about the situation may be wrong. Your brain will being to let it go.
Working hard leads to success
Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing. Think Ender’s Game. Play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption.
Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem, as well as lead you to success.
Success is the opposite of failure
We succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. People afraid to make mistakes shut down, but those willing to risk and learn, do so and well.
Success is built on failure.
It matters what people think of me
“But if I fail people will think badly of me!” They’re probably not thinking about you at all to be honest. This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide and many other mental instabilities. It happens to me when I read blatant lies about myself on the internet. I get enraged and want to force these other, completely meaningless to my life, strangers, to believe the truth about me. Ridiculous, I know. Imagine what you’d do if you absolutely didn’t care what a single other person thought of you.
Got it? Good. Never go back.
We should think rationally about our decisions
Rationalizing is a far newer and error prone thing than your deeper, animal instincts. Instead of weighing all the pros and cons of an issue, filtered through your own conscious biases and experiences, try paying attention to your physical response to each option. Look for when your body tenses or relaxes.
Listen to your instincts.
The pretty girls get all the good stuff
Yes, this is true. I’m kidding. Sure, hot women get preferential treatment in most life scenarios, but here’s the catch:
Everyone looks at them, but nobody sees them.
If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect
Right. That’s why Charlie Sheen is crazy, Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, many people who have it all are in divorce court, or jail, or worse. Any external thing that we depend on to make use feel good has the power to make us feel bad. To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that would make you.
The joy, not the thing, is the point.
Loss is terrible
I nearly lost everything once. After that I feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I’d smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who disgusted me. What I now know is that losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That’s the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you’ve abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern.
Live your truth, losses be damned.