Our mind is a wonderland of creative imagination. New ideas have given life and tangibility to inventions and societal growth since humans roamed the planet. So, if necessity is the mother of all invention, why do we spend so much of our time on problems that don’t actually exist (and aren't actually necessary)?
Without oversight, our minds can run rampant with horrible future possibilities. Anyone who has ever stressed about anything knows that the ‘what ifs’ of catastrophic circumstances are endless and a terrible use of our imaginative power (and energy). Let's face it, stressing about an imagined future is exhausting.
In the words of Robin Sharma, “The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”
We think that if we can somehow envision the thousands of ways something can go wrong that we can somehow avoid them. Or that if we dream up our worst fear and it actually comes true, that it will be less of a shock and therefore somehow easier to navigate. There is no amount of worry or stress that can save us from experiencing challenges in life. And every challenge is figure-out-able in the moment.
Why are we so scared of uncertainty and the unexpected? We are naturally problem-solving geniuses. We do it all the time with challenges we’ve never imagined before we were facing them. And we will continue to solve problems as problems present themselves. So why not address what is real right in front of us versus solving imaginary problems that may or may not ever happen?
The reality is, no matter how much we think about the future, we’ll never predict what we think we will, nor will we avoid pain and shock. We will, however, miss out on the joy and peace of each moment if we aren’t present for it.
Surprises are just as likely to be fun and wonderful. Especially if we’re open to experience new things.
I can tell you that when I woke up on Saturday morning and planned out my day, it absolutely did not include adopting a second rescue dog. I never would have imagined unexpectedly attending a dog adoption event next to where I was eating lunch. And if I would have let all the future “what ifs” of why adopting a second dog might end up being a bad decision, I would have missed out on experiencing loving one of the sweetest dog souls.
Is it without its challenges? Certainly not.
Are they all figure-out-able? Totally.
Is it worth it? Completely.
Live in the moment. Solve only what is real and present. Let fear and anxiety take a back seat; they don’t deserve to drive.
Be present to what is, and let yourself be open to the possibility that everything could turn out better than you could ever imagine if you just let it unfold as it will.
We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them.