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When Attentive, notice the good problem you have

Do you make compromises on your present self or your future self? It’s not about making a right or wrong choice but recognising that once you’ve made a choice, you choose the problems that come with it.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

We can save time and be more effective by swiftly de-escalating from states of being Annoyed, Reactive, Stressed and Exhausted, but we can also pro-actively increase our resilience by considering our abilities to be Attentive, Calm and Effective. Linked with Stoicism – we look at how our perception, willing acceptance and action are different keys we can use to unlock different problems.

In this post we look at being Attentive – what do we place our attention on – what uses up our money, our time and headspace?

In Buddhism, life is suffering. Life is about learning how to manage problems, puzzles and challenges (whatever label you choose – though a problem remains a problem). The first step is choosing which problems to take on or the flipside – recognising the positive problem that we get as a result of choosing a path. If you choose to run your own business, you choose problems related to uncertain finances at the expense of having freedom over how you work. On the other hand, if you choose employment, you have steadier, more reliable income but less autonomy potentially. Which problems would you rather have? You could argue that we’re making assumptions – that having your own business can be linked with sustainable income, or that being employed can give us freedom from leadership responsibilities. I have no doubt that you can grow beyond these assumptions, but those initial expectations are the ones that keep us up at night. So how can we switch our attention to attend to the right problems?

Changing one’s thinking is not easy, it requires constant recalibration and conscious effort to remind ourselves what is truly in our control, what is really worth our focus. Take finances – is it better to try and work out how to save money or spend that same energy on figuring out how to create more money? What we focus on grows. Saving money is sensible but if it leans too far into scarcity then we risk amplifying our fears and turning away from opportunities that may initially cost us but turn into good long term investments. This fluidity between being present or future minded can help us navigate through uncertainty. Do you make compromises on your present self or your future self? It’s not about making a right or wrong choice but recognising that once you’ve made a choice, you choose the problems that come with it. The umming and arrring about “but what if…” and “if only…” time travelling between what you’ve done in the past and what might happen next only weighs us down as we forever doubt our decisions.

So the next time you find yourself debating or feeling frustrated, write a note to yourself to explicitly remind you of the reasons for choosing A over B, and the opportunities that these so called problems actually open up.

Next time – how we can maintain our ability to remain Calm by taming our ego.

Originally published at aspacefor.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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