Life ~ An Emotional Rollercoaster

Brent BaldwinThere are days when I am on top of the world. Everything’s coming up roses, and I walk around telling everyone I meet that

“it’s the most beautiful world in the world.’

And in that head space, at that moment, it is.

Then there are days when the big black dog of depression sits at my front door and hangs its dark shroud. Dark emotions show up as an unexpected visitor with bad news. Life loses any hint of brightness, and its luster fades to gray.

When faced with dark days we often choose to ignore the emotion or suppress it, clearly not an effective long-term strategy. Sooner or later “the stuff” bubbles to the surface. The longer you wait, the more power “the stuff” has.

Suppressed negative dark emotions materialize as inappropriate responses or misdirected reactions. It’s never a good moment when that happens.

Life is not an endless Shangri-La

With sunshine and rainbows every day. Nor should it be. Reality is, sooner or later the big black dog is going to sit on your front step or at least cast its long shadow on your door as it passes. And then what are you going to do? What is your strategy?

Suppress or Deal With It?

At best suppression has but a momentary effect. The strategy of acting like nothing’s wrong and expecting a transformation into tranquility may work momentarily, but I’ve never seen anyone with the ability to harness its power long term. Bit by bit, little by little it morphs into something requiring guilty and long overdue attention.

Sooner is Better Than Later.

It all starts with recognition and acceptance. No-one gets out unscathed. On occasion, everyone has dark days.

Acceptance is a critical strategy when going from where you are to where you want to be. Seeing and feeling discomfort now is always better long-term, rarely is it comfortable in the short-term.

Remember, when life throws you a curve ball, getting around it can often seem like an interminable game of inches. This situation may very well be a marathon when all you feel capable of is a sprint. Persevere, don’t loose heart, and inevitably you will prevail.

Lead with your heart

What are you going to do? What strategy, habit or belief are you going to lean into to put this aside and give you the chance to start moving forward? What is the most honest, heart fealt, and effective act you can do right now to deal with this and move on to better times?

Although it may sound like an oxymoron but dealing with an issue sooner rather than later is typically the path of least resistance.

Riding the ups and the downs ~ Think World Class

Limitation or Convenient Excuse

Brent BaldwinDon’t let your limitations define who you are.

The older that I get, the more aches and pains I notice. It becomes too easy to be defined by my bad back, weak knees, or frozen shoulder.

There is a line in a Leonard Cohn song that says:
“I ache in the places that I used to play.”
unfortunately, this line resonates in my life; some days more than others.

When you decide to define who you are by what you can’t do,

At that point, you have decided to stop living and have relegated your participation to the fine art of watching others live life fully (thank god for television). Surreptitiously watching, silently lamenting yet fully resigned never to try. Leaning oh so heavily on the crutch of limitation. I am my limitation. How dare you ask me to give it up. Be forewarned the decline only accelerates from here; brace yourself it could be a long lonely slide to the end.

I will never run a 4-minute mile but rest assured I can run (or walk) a mile and yoga seemed so unnatural, yet today what feels strange is missing a class, I will never be the best, but I still reap the rewards and the personal satisfaction that feeds my soul.

The World Class never let the things they can’t do stop them from doing the things that they can do.

If your perceived limitations keep you out of the game and on the sidelines, you are living a middle-class mindset.

Get over it and get in the flow; figure out what you can do and then do it. Choose how you want to participate in your life, not just physically but intellectually, and emotionally as well. This concept applies to all areas of your life, take chances.

Jump in ~ Think World Class

Delayed Gratification

Brent BaldwinI must admit, delayed gratification is a concept in which, I have not always believed.

As a matter of fact, for most of my life, I lived with the motto: Sooner is better than later, and more is better than less ~ ALWAYS.

While the hedonistic side of me believes that this is true, the older and wiser me has simplified the statement.

“Returns are better than losses.” 

Returns can be immediate or deferred.

Immediate and short term profits are self-explanatory. Delayed returns, on the other hand, are conditional upon your capacity to sustain a current state or lifestyle without irreparable compromise over a protracted period.

The World Class know that financial leverage (i.e., using someone else’s money) is integral to amassing better returns. Pretty basic economics, but let’s just add a variation to the concept.

Returns are not always monetary

Understand what you want to achieve. The investment that you are making, the return you want, or the leverage you are seeking may be financial, or it may be social, spiritual, political, physical, ecological or simply more time with family and loved ones.

There is a concept of quid pro-quo in each of these; Repayment, exchange or impact requires us to weigh, commitments against time and analyze the facts to determine viability. What is the return short term? What is the potential return long-term? Which investment or expectation best supports my character?

“Always consider whether a position of deferred gratification would serve you better.”

To do this, take the emotion out of the equation and make your decision based purely on facts.  Deferred gratification may be the key to creating better returns, stronger relationships, commitments, or mutual respect.

Being emotionally bankrupt, worried or loosing sleep  can make you physically sick. Is your obsession to pursue immediate rather than deferred gratification worth the toll? Some investments need time and some investments pay returns into our emotional bank account and feed our character.

Deferred gratification, think it through ~ Think World Class