Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been overwhelmingly fatigued. I will lay in bed with my alarm blaring at an ungodly volume and I will simply groan and string a line of highly toxic expletives to whatever deity I feel like cursing at the time. It’s not a matter of being tired. I’ve written about this before, (see Staring Defeat In The Eyes). In that post I say “It’s not any matter of a broken limb or muscle but rather a broken mind.” Now, my mind is not broken in the sense that you are thinking; I am not mentally ill, rather, I am mentally irregular. Then again aren’t we all to some degree? Normal people (well – normal enough), normal jobs, normal friends, normal lives, essentially, and yet we all hold so many variables. We all have demons, or problems, plaguing us.
But it’s how we deal with these problems that, in the end, defines us as who we are as human beings. I’m not going to lie to you, based on the actions of this last weekend I’m a pretty shitty person. A lot of time spent doing nothing because I was “too tired” and so essential work was not finished and now I am behind. Granted, I had a lot on my plate this weekend, but the statement still stands. Now, it is not easy in the moment to do the “right thing to do.” As a self-improvement blogger I can sit here and tell you generic methods of improving yourself all day long and not bat an eye. Views and likes would flow in but that would be it. I wouldn’t actually be helping anyone which is the entire purpose of a self-improvement blog in the first place. “Do the right thing,” “Wake up with a smile on your face,” “Be a good person and things will get better!” “Insert generic motivational comment here!”
But seriously let’s stop the bullshit for a second and think. Becoming a better person isn’t about “waking up with a smile on your face” or whatever. It’s about the actions you take in everyday life. Actions that change your life and the lives of those around you. It’s about that empty Starbucks cup that you could have picked up on the side of the road, or the door you could have held for that man behind you with the vacant expression on his face, or even on a simpler level, the amount of animosity you are spewing through your mind.
It’s like road rage. Look, I’m as guilty as the next guy for waving derogatory gestures around like a one-winged seagull. I’ve had my share of rage. But what’s remarkable about your thoughts and your actions is that you can control them. Now you’re probably thinking “David that’s stupid, if I think someone is dumb as a bag of bricks how can I stop from thinking that?” Well I’ll throw out that fishing rod with the word honesty on the end and tell you that you probably can’t. At least not in the way you are thinking. If you can curb your thoughts that well I give you props, but for the rest of us how do we solve this conundrum? Well it’s pretty simple actually; thoughts are patterns. Nothing more, nothing less. They are patterns that are formed over a lifetime of thinking a certain way. So when you look at someone and go “god they’re stupid” over and over in your head it is because that is the way you have conditioned yourself.
I’m here to tell you that you need to change that.
Now before you click away let me just explain that it’s really not that difficult to change, and if you do change your thought processes a whole new world opens for you. You see in that moment of road rage shouting and getting angry helps nobody. In fact, it is counterproductive to everyone as it makes both parties angry, both parties distracted while driving, and both parties less faithful in the human race. Not to mention most of the time both parties simply blame each other. Sometimes – a lot of the time it is better to simply suck in your gut, stick out your chest, and go “god dammit, it may not have been my fault but there was something I could have done differently to avoid that situation!” Gone a little slower at that stop sign, turned a blinker on sooner, checked your blind spot; a world of possibilities that you could have changed to make that situation non-existent.
Again you’re probably reading this and going, “what the hell? Why would I take the blame for something I didn’t do?”
Because not only will you be the better person for it, but you will leave the situation happier, you will be less distracted, and by god you will set an example for another human being. Now, this road rage situation is simply theoretical and this concept can be applied to a million different things. But I guarantee that when you leave that situation, if you don’t give into your anger you will be happier. You will feel like the bigger person because you will be the bigger person. You will also not be dwelling on a stupid situation, and will continue merrily on your way through your life without spending the next two hours annoyed at some stranger you will never see again.
Am I perfect at this? No. But I am in the process of changing my thought patterns. I’ve spent a lifetime in this mentality and only began to really realize and change it around a year ago. So every time I start to get really angry over something small I give myself a mental slap on the wrists, and slowly, but noticeably, my thought process is changing. I am not getting angry as easily and I am a lot happier in general. Life is simpler now, and easier to enjoy. So yeah, I woke up this morning and said some things I wish I could take back. I have problems. But tomorrow that doesn’t mean when I wake up I’m not going to try and “wake up with a smile on my face!” (God damn I can’t believe those words just left my mouth). Tomorrow I am going to do the small things like pick up that Starbucks cup, or hold a door, and especially I won’t get caught up in those thought patterns that have been holding me back from enjoying life for a lifetime.