The tendency is to think of challenges as either good or bad, and act accordingly. In looking at the situations we face, we want to either complain when things are bad, or rejoice when they are good. We think of good and bad as forces acting against us on purpose. Instead, they are just random acts of reality. Good and bad are nothing more than stories told from a certain perspective in our lives.
A story can entertain, distract, or enrage. We are all storytellers, though we might not know it. Stories define how we interpret the world. They give meaning, but also limit meaning by pigeon holing us in to one point of view. But, the truth is, that stories only do us so much good.
At some point you need to set aside your stories, or at the very least question them. There are many times when we let the spiral of a story drag us somewhere we never wanted to go. Stories can take on a life of their own. They need only a willing narrator to set the stage, and they can grow and develop without your conscious help. When we look back, after the dust has settled and the damage has been done, we wonder: How did I end up here?
At that point it is almost always too late to change that story. You must now accept where that plot line took you. Stories are not all bad, though, which is why we rely on them. At times, the stories regarding good and bad in our lives help us cope with situations that we have trouble understanding. They also help build up the good times, and focusing on the good can bring us very far.
The good that stories bring is why we trust them, even when we should not. A story is nothing more than how you interpret a situation, one way of looking at the world, one viewpoint, one perspective, one attempt to understand.
When facing challenges, good or bad, sometimes we do not need to understand as much as accept. If we are able to pause from our story making and just encounter and over come the challenges before us we stop taking life personally. A challenge can just be a hurdle we need to overcome so we can continue on with our mission, how ever you define that.
Putting a story to a challenge gives roadblocks in your life more meaning than they should have. Why glorify your struggles? Instead, see struggles as a necessary part of life, but not the norm. Stories make challenges the status quo. Regarding bad as impersonal turns challenges in to just another day, just another obstacle.
We act as if good and bad are these things just floating around the universe that pick out people at random and act upon them. But, good and bad just are. They occur because that is life, and for no other reason. The challenge is not giving stories credit. The difficulty is refusing to build up the importance of challenges through stories.
Acting impersonal towards challenges is not the same thing as acting without passion. Impersonal behavior sometimes has a bad rap for not caring, or for disconnecting you from life. I’m not telling you to live without passion. Instead of stories, the challenge is focusing on growth. You must observe good and bad with fascination at the wonder and diversity of life, and pursue your mission with passion.
Passion is really just another word for self-motivation, or living with a desire to continually improve yourself. This is something that you should never become impersonal about, and a place within you that any story can never touch. Stories add color to life, but stories provide entertainment. They are not meant to control your emotions and define your actions. They distract, not make you better.
The next time you face a challenge, and you feel a rising anger, pause for a second. Before the story takes hold, or before the story starts a new chapter, realize the plot line of the moment. Realization, consciousness, destroys the hold emotions take over us. Awareness returns you to what matters, and puts all of your challenges in perspective.