“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
– Oscar Wilde
I read a magazine article today about cynicism, and it really got me thinking. The author basically stated that the reason that men fail in their endeavors is an abundance of cynicism. And of course the cynics in us all are automatically skeptical of this statement, but he further goes on to ask us to stop and see if we can think of ONE successful cynic. Just one. It’s damn near impossible.
Incredibly successful people, whether they’re actors, entertainers, athletes or just general moguls, all share one thing: a sincere belief in themselves and in other people. It’s not enough just to be self-confident and self-sufficient. To be successful also requires that you sincerely believe in the good of mankind.
The article features a quiz that helps you to determine your cynicism level; giving statements and asking you to agree or disagree with them.
So, for example, “People pretend to care about others more than they really do care,” and then you either get to agree/disagree.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
Being stuck in endless cycle of anxiety and paralyzing fear is no way for anyone to live… I know, I’ve been there.
Worse yet, it keeps us from moving forward and becomes literally crippling. Forget about goal achievement, constant fear and anxiety turns into a battle just to get through the day.
It’s easy from the outside to see how this sort of thinking can be so damaging to one’s growth— but, from the inside, it’s another story and can be truly debilitating!
Here are five tips you can use to instantly destroy and eliminate those anxious feelings fearful thoughts— to move yourself from literally paralyzed to a place of greater peace.
#1: Take Inventory of the Situation
In Buddhism there is something known as, “right understanding” or, “right view” derived from The Noble Eight-fold Path.
When you become extremely anxious and fearful, ask yourself while your in the moment— what is truly terrifying you? It’s likely that the moment itself is actually quite safe and that you are projecting out into the future with negative visions?
What, in the present is so dangerous?
Unless you are being car-jacked or chased by a bear through the woods or perhaps some similar immediate danger, chances are good, you are crafting a story about your impending demise!
You are using your imagination— creating visions, in your mind eye about a future filled with frightening and unfavorable events.
Thus, the counsel is simple; take stock in the moment, in yourself and your present thinking. Do your best to gain a healthy perspective about the actual situation, in the moment.
Often realizing it’s just a dire forecast (not necessarily an accurate or correct one) and knowing that the future is in fact, unknown… ask yourself, “Could not the exact opposite occur?” Then ask, “How many other possible outcomes are there?” The next question to ask, “Has anybody else gone through this — or worse — and made it through successfully?”
#2: Shift Your Focus
It’s been said, “What you focus upon expands”. Further, in my experience I’ve noticed that whatever I focus upon I tend to feel or have emotions about.
If I focus upon a great time, a great memory, I tend to feel great.
Focusing upon a great memory, or holding a thought of gratitude and appreciating something can instantly change your mood, emotions and feelings in the present!
And, since you can only hold one thought at a time, the quickest way to banish fear and anxiety is to replace those thoughts with something favorable.
#3: Challenge Your Emotions
Could fear just be excitement? The answer is YES – it could be…. There is a great video about this by Simon Sinek (bottom). Could your worry or fear be instead an exciting opportunity? Often a situation that presents itself as scary is a powerful opportunity for growth. There are two sides to every coin!
Think about the situation that’s giving you fits of anxiety and fear. List at least five different ways this could result in a superb opportunity if your thinking was flipped on its head.
#4: Take Action!
Fear drives insecurity, and insecurity creates inaction and hesitancy.
Henry David Thoreau says it best: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he imagines, he will he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
This simply means we must take action and move confidently — even if it’s slowly — toward our goals. And, here’s the kicker, even if we are uncertain and not confident!
“MOVE CONFIDENTLY in the direction of your dreams.”
The truth: NOBODY knows the future, those that are moving confidently in the direction of their dreams are doing so as blindly as everyone else yet, they believe and are hopeful!
#5: Accept the Fear
Finally, accepting and understanding fear can be a useful tool.
Fear has its origins in pressure and ultimately when we understand it better we can chose to refract the pressure positively.
Don’t believe me, ever hear of Lincoln, Gandhi, Churchill?
The “reality” is, we all have the ability to refract pressure away from fear, toward a hopeful, positive future anytime we can wrap some awareness around it (by acknowledging it!).
On one end of the spectrum is hope/faith on the other is fear.
I’m sure you’ve heard Yoda’s great line:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
Choose hope and optimism by accepting and not rejecting the pressure and refract it toward the positive!
By acknowledging the fear, we take responsibility for it. When we become response-able and not just reactive! We regain the driver’s seat and thus have the ability to steer that fear toward hopefulness, opportunity and faith.
Sam, YOU are the man… Thank you! What an inspiring young man!
You are/were the perfect example of how anyone can overcome ANY obstacle. You taught us where to put our attention, energy and focus. You understood the importance of setting goals, not letting circumstances dictate your attitude and the value of positive relationships.
The thing you (the reader) should know is this, Sam insisted that above all, he was HAPPY! Yet, here was a guy suffering from an incurable, debilitating disease.
“I’m HAPPY!” He would say again and again – and that he wants to change the world. The funny thing about changing the world (as I’m sure you recognize) is you first have to change yourself, then influence another– and, another and so on. The process is rather slow to start but catches steam pretty quickly. With 2 Million plus views – his message isn’t going unnoticed.
Sam’s Secrets to a HAPPY LIFE:
#1) Focus on things he CAN DO vs. the things he can’t do
He might not be able to ride a roller coaster but he could read comic books
He might not be running a marathon but he could watch his favorite sports teams
He couldn’t carry a snare drum but they found a way to work around the obstacle!
Q: What do you want to accomplish and think you can’t because of a “real” or made up obstacle?
#2) Surround yourself with people you want to be around
Sam recognized and appreciated his supportive family and friends.
He loved his great friends and called themsleves “band geeks”
He would insist that the music they created together was bigger than any disease and allowed him to transcend his condition
this happened BECAUSE of other people – great relationships!
MUSIC served as an escape and made him feel good.
Q: What are you doing to appreciate and express love for your family and closest friends? How are you acknowledging and appreciate your mentors and community?
#3) Keep moving forward.
Sam shared a Walt Disney quote “we keep moving forward opening new doors and doing new things.” Sam believed keeping your eyes on the horizon helped to keep his spirits up. Perhaps it was an upcoming family trip or ball game.
Now, there may be some “confused” people who might judge this mindset and accuse it of not being present or in the “now” (not zenlike perhaps) if he’s constantly looking forward. However, they would be a bit off base since one of the great values in setting goals is it helps to bring your present into focus and alignment. For instance, if I have a marathon I’m looking forward to my present will be more focused on good choices. And, there is another terrific benefit. With any future event, the seed of “HOPE” is always planted and this helps us through those moments of great challenge. As Sam said, “A bright future ahead may get me through some difficult times.”
Always remember, where there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.
Sam’s words again, “I always try to have something to look forward to.”
Q: “what are you looking forward to?”
Finally, Sam insists that YOU shouldn’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself… accept it /acknowledge it and then move past it. “Being brave isn’t supposed to be easy.”
“I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself.
I surround myself with people i want to be with.
and i keep moving forward!”
Finally, Sam ends it with this little gem and you get a sense just how he looks forward to events and leave’s us with, “Never miss a party if you can make it!”