Two lawyers are lost at the top of a mountain. The first lawyer pulls out a map and peruses it for a while. Then he turns to the other lawyer and says: “Hey, I’ve figured it out. I know where we are.”
“Where are we then?”
“Do you see that mountain over there?”
“Well… THAT’S where we are!”
There is always a gap between what we think is our reality, and our actual reality.
We spend a lot of energy creating stories about our lives and our relationship to the world. We often buy into every kind of philosophical, spiritual or mental view of the world and ourselves in it, and then try to live there.
But in truth, we don’t live in our ideas of ourselves or the world. We exist in the day to day physical environments we move through, taking actions in the hope of changing conditions, and then enjoying or disliking the results of those conditions.
Some conditions change and some stay the same, but most of the time, our experience of reality is made up of those conditions we are willing to tolerate.
Look around. Really look at your life conditions – everything from how you look, to where you live but more importantly how you live. Although it is a temptation to escape into the mind and blame 1000 abstractions (politics, war, economics), let me suggest that you stay very, very close to how you live and what you tolerate.
Reality is what you are willing to tolerate.
Some things are good to tolerate and some are not.
Make a list:
- What are you tolerating in your life?
This means everything from “that box in the hall that I said I was taking to Goodwill”, to “I hate how my hair looks”, to “the house is always a mess”, etc. This is not a “gripe list” but simply a list of the conditions that you allow to continue.
- What have you settled for and why?
This means choosing or allowing an unsatisfactory condition to persist, usually because some limitation that exists only in your imagination.
- What really needs to change?
What conditions must be made different?
Some unsatisfactory conditions are easy to change, and some more difficult. Think about the conditions you have created and allowed to persist for too long. Things that get in your way. Irritants that take the shine off your day, month, or life.
- When will you change it and how specifically?
Well? Some people don’t understand that reality is not holding them back but they are holding reality back. Decide what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.
- What physical action to modify the condition will you take today?
It’s all about (and always about) what you do today. Don’t think, do. Take action!
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