For years I was told: “Joe, you have such a positive attitude!” “Joe, you have such a positive outlook on life.” “You’re such a positive person!”
I always tried and usually would find the “bright side of things.”
Little do these people know, along with my positivity, would come a streaks of disappointment, frustration, and a negative outlook.
These frustrations would come periodically, based on one constant: outside factors and circumstances.
I would feel really positive about areas of my life, and a lot of it was based on the future projection of something good to happen. It could range from the promising prospects about a new investment opportunity, or business opportunity I felt really good about. It may also have been about a new relationship with a girl I started seeing.
Positivity would pour out of me. There was a sense of excitement, a rush, when the projection of something great was on the horizon.
It did not happen.
The new investment opportunity went South and I lost money, or the relationship I had with a girl fizzled out after 6 months.
Alas! Disappointment, and frustration had set in.
Then, as time went on, a few weeks later, or maybe a few months later, the thought of disappointment had vanished, or would at least not come back as frequently.
Then, repeat. Feel really positive for an extended amount of time. Disappointment. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The loop continues.
I’ve been working on this for the past year, and by all means I have not mastered it. Maybe it can be understood by this saying:
Whether something good or bad happens to you, a good practice to say to yourself is: “This too shall pass.”
“This too shall pass.”
Proactively thinking this, within yourself, prepares you for any type of external circumstance that may come about in the future.
It dulls your over-excitement, and over-indulgence when things are good. And it calms your mind, when things get frustrating or anxious.
There is this extra layer here.
That extra layer is non-attachment – to any outside circumstance, whether good or bad.
I will continue to control my actions towards future goals. I will continue to grow and try to achieve more. But I try to pursue these external things, it with an internal mentality of “what will be, will be.”
If I am, as the great Earl Nighengale says, “constructively discontented,” as a motivating factor to achieve more. I will do the very best in my power to be “contently, discontented.”
I quote Dan Millman, in his classic, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: “I finally had released my expectations that the world would fulfill me, therefore my disappointments had vanished too.”
There is something deeper, vaster at work here that just positivity. It’s inner peace. It’s a sense of calm. It’s an understanding that there is a difference between your life and the outside things happening in your life.
In closing, I quote the great Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”