More skills for coping with what we cannot change

Trying to control life

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From an etymological position, the word neurosis derives from the words that mean abnormal condition of the neurons.

From a clinical standpoint, the word neurosis is defined as a relatively mild mental illness involving irrational stress, anxiety, obsessive behavior.

But it’s the existential point of view that resonates with me most, which suggests that neuroses are nothing more than our anxious attempts to prevent life from happening.

The blocking of the forward momentum of action. Our stubborn insistences on controlling the future, even when there is zero hope of altering reality.

After all, the human brain is an anticipation machine. How dare things not work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan?

But before we shake our hands to the sky and proclaim that the natural laws of the world do not apply to us, we might consider the wisdom of history’s great thinkers.

Buckminster said that nature has its own tempo and flow of which we are only a small part.

Graves said that nature does not depend on us because we are not the only experiment.

Hendricks said that nature is engaged in an infinite process of creation.

Kelly said that the rose blooms without our approval and dies without our consent.

Dostoyevsky said that nature doesn’t ask our advice, and she isn’t interested in our preferences or whether or not we approve of her laws, and so, we must accept nature as she is with all the consequences that she implies.

And so, if we are to keep neurosis at bay, we need more skills for coping with what we cannot change.

Seligman’s research on human flourishing suggests that the knowledge of the difference between what we can change and what we must accept in ourselves is the beginning of real change.

And he encourages patients to ask themselves the following cognitive reframing question to help deepen that knowledge:

Is what you are anxious about out of proportion to the reality of the danger you fear?

If you’re wired like me, and your racing brain interferes with your ability to maintain calmness, this tool is a simple and effective way to interrupt the avalanche of neuroses and take change of your own thoughts.

It helps you stay present to life with its full range of safety and danger and its full potential for good an evil.

Are you ready for the grief of relinquishing a romantic fantasy in the face of a disenchanting reality?

For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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