It seems like everyday there is a new story about something we should fear. Another tragedy, another flood and another war. Is it even worth hearing about this stuff? Does it benefit us to know? Are there anything good things happening in the world? I have named this phenomena selective negativity.
Wars over spices happened only a few hundred years ago. We have been fighting over food, resources and currency since the inception of currency shortly after drifting away from the barter system.
Although it seems that more problems, complexity and issues have surfaced in recent years, we could say that human life has always been a sort of struggle. Even when we were in tribes and had much less work to do, there were still issues.
I'm not denying the fact that the 21st Century is completely bizarre and unique compared to anything we could ever imagine, but we should proceed carefully and with intention.
It seems when you sit around and marinate on the complexity of world problems and society as a whole, you don't get very far. You may end up at the end of a wooden plank on the edge of a ship in the middle of the Pacific. At least that's what it feels like mentally. We become paralyzed with the intensity and size of worldly issues.
The thing is, we were never designed to contemplate, comprehend or even attempt to understand 8 billion people's problems at once. Our brain is simply not wired this way.
However, with intention, you can create massive power and influence over some of these issues. No, you wont be able to solve the world's drought issues single-handily, but you can at least develop a plan for you and your loved ones.
Having so much information thrown at us on a daily basis prevents us from creating our own lives. We are left spinning in a virtual cyclone of messages, worries, problems and fears that only paralyze us.
A simple look outside of your bedroom window may reveal a hidden secret in modern times. While we are debating planetary issues (which are important), there are few issues lying right outside of our bedroom that we cannot tackle. You may find that there are no problems outside of your bedroom window and that it's time to go for a walk down the street.
Playing a part in your local community CAN have effects. No matter if you are trying to create the world's largest organic garden or if you are just trying to grow a few herbs in your window sill, the fact is that you have to start somewhere.
Set your intention, determine what you want and how you plan to achieve it.
Focus on what you can control
As someone who has spent too many hours attempting to fix bigger issues in the world, I've realized that it's the small steps that make huge action. Simply reading this article counts as a small step towards success and fulfillment.
Look back at who and where you were about 5-10 years ago. Do you feel like you have more knowledge, wisdom and skills than your former self? Would you take back the experiences that have happened in that time frame? There are no right or wrong answers here.
Instead of focusing and moping on issues that we cannot possibly control, let's focus on things we can control.
You can control:
- What you eat and drink
- When you go to sleep
- Whether you walk or get some sort of exercise
- Whether you want to yell at the guy who cut you off on the highway or not
- Whether you want to respond negatively or positively to a challenge
- The frequency that you hug and kiss your loved ones
- The amount of love that you send outwards to others
- How many obligations you assume
- The choice to seek out happiness and fulfillment
There are many others, but the point is that many aspects of life can be altered with a simple modification in our frame of mind. Remember that.
Stop being so negative
It's far easier to be negative. As Dr. Henry Grayson mentioned on the podcast, 98% of news is negative. Misery loves company as we all know. It's actually quite disappointing, but I encounter far more negative and seemingly miserable people than happy people.
Is the amount of misery a surprise? Absolutely not! As T.S. Wiley mentioned on the podcast, things like excessive night time light exposure, overconsumption of grains, sugars and nutrient deficiencies are some of the largest culprits. However, these are things you can control!
As Mark Sisson mentioned on the podcast, how many people that are "too poor" to afford to eat better have 70" HDTV's, iPhones, Xbox, new cars, fancy appliances, Cable TV subscriptions and other consumer electronics? A large majority to say the least.
If I can still find a 1 pound bag of sustainably and organically grown peas, kale and green beans for $1.98 each at my local Central Market, things are okay.
After getting extremely irritated one day, I caught myself in the act and said, "you're being ridiculous and negative". After the self-confrontation, a sigh of relief and an immediate turn around of the negative attitude was shifted. We do have power over our intentions and thought patterns after all. Although it is much easier to think positive when your brain is loaded full of antioxidants from something like a quality greens powder that my company produces.
Find your tribe
My mentor Nora Gedgaudas, me and my wife pictured.
As social media and technology use increases, you'd think that connectivity is improved! However, the connectivity that is replacing a good ol' guitar session by the campfire is hollow, digital and dead of all life and vibration. The physical world will always surpass the ability of virtual interaction and communication. Wouldn't you much rather be having a conversation about this very sentence by a campfire and a hammock with me and some other interesting people? I would.
Finding people that "vibe" with you is an arduous but essential task if you want to be happy in the long run. Regardless of if we feel "content and fine" when we're alone, we are evolutionarily wired and happier to be with others.
It may take time and even some drastic measures like moving across the country or world to find your tribe, but they're out there. Even if it's a tribe of two, three or a thousand, they're out there. You just haven't crossed paths yet. It'll happen with patience. Seek them out and don't be closed off to the experience. You never know who you might run across on a hiking trail one day.
Go outside and wait
An action as simple as turning off the TV, laying down the smart phone and tablet and walking outside can literally save your life. When I was at a low point mentally in life, I would seek out nature. Luckily with the addition of a few key ingredients, I was able to restore the natural healthy function of my neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals responsible for shaping your moods and outlook.
Next time you face a difficult decision or even slightly traumatic event, GO outside away from society. Find a green space. Whether you find a desert oasis or a tropical rainforest, seek out a place of isolation and quiet. If that's not possible, find that place in your head as you close your eyes, listen to this song and just stop everything else you're doing.