Image from Internet
Most of life’s struggles begin perhaps when we don’t stop and analyse the situation and accept it.
Have you heard of ‘drown-proofing’, a part of Navy SEAL training? As part of ‘drown-proofing’ exercise, one is dumped in a 9-foot-deep pool with hands tied behind the back and feet tied together. The challenge is to survive for five minutes in the pool. Most candidates fail in this test. The first lesson of drown-proofing is paradoxical: the more you struggle to keep your head above water, the more likely you are to sink.
With your arms and legs bound, it’s nearly impossible to maintain yourself at the surface for the full five minutes. Even worse, your limited attempts to keep your body afloat will only cause you to sink faster. So what’s the trick to drown-proof in this situation? The trick is to actually let yourself sink to the bottom of the pool. From there, you lightly push yourself off the pool floor and let your momentum carry you back to the surface. Once there, you can grab a quick breath of air and repeat the whole process, again and again. Strangely, surviving drown-proofing requires no superhuman strength or endurance. It doesn’t even require that you know how to swim. On the contrary, it requires the ability to not swim. Instead of resisting the physics that would normally kill you, you must surrender to it and use it to save your own life.
This example of Navy Seal holds true for most of the issues that govern our life psychologically. Pursuing happiness takes you further away from it. Attempts at greater emotional control only remove us from it. The desire for greater freedom is often what causes us to feel trapped. The need to be loved and accepted prevents us from loving and accepting ourselves.
In the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson wonderfully explains that desiring a positive experience is itself a negative experience; accepting a negative experience is a positive experience.
He further explains this in his book. To achieve the best things that matter in life, you have to Bottom – bounce like successful Navy Seals. The most fundamental components of our psychology are paradoxical.
- Control – The more we try to control our feelings, the more stuck or powerless we feel. Accepting our feelings aids our ability to process them better.
- Freedom – We truly exercise our freedom by limiting ourselves–to choose and committ to certain things in life. We lose our freedom when we surround ourselves with tons of things, assignments and commitments.
- Happiness – Have you ever observed that ‘trying’ to be happy makes us less happier? Accepting that unhappiness is also part of our life makes us truly appreciate and enjoy happiness.
- Security – Trying hard to make ourselves feel as secure as possible generates more insecurity. Being comfortable with uncertainty is what allows us to feel secure and helps us deal better with uncertainty.
- Love – The more we try to make others accept us, the less they will. More importantly, our focus should be to love and accept ourselves.
- Respect – Demanding or seeking respect from others doesn’t work. The more we demand, the lesser respect we will receive. To receive respect, we have to be first be mindful to respect others.
- Trust – Just like demanding respect, the more we try to make people trust us, the less inclined they will be to do so. Winning their trust begins with our trusting them.
- Confidence – Pretending to be confident creates more insecurity and anxiety. The more we accept our flaws and weaknesses, the more comfortable and confident we will feel.
- Change – Desperately wanting to change ourselves results in a constant feeling of ‘not being enough’. Whereas, the more we accept ourselves, the more we will grow and evolve.
- Meaning – The more we focus on pursuing purpose of our lives, the more self-obsessed and shallow we become. When we try to add meaning to others’ lives, you will feel its profound impact.