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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Emery

respect the unexpected

The firmly established foundation of mental health, positive psychology and a happy life is not so much what happens to us ‘out there’ but rather how we react and respond within. There is much to be said for having stoicism, resilience, a positive mental attitude and basic good cheer.

The glass is both half empty and half full! Life is all about perspective.

Many psychology research studies over the years have found that those with an optimistic and joyous disposition fare better, live longer and enjoy far superior physical and mental health. We are all determined by our perception and that perception is a product of our cognitive filters and bias. We all have a totally unique and individual perspective that becomes our own personal world view and life story.

In a world of fake news, misinformation and false narratives, each of us needs to be careful we safeguard our own receptivity and openness to truth by availing ourselves of multiple sources of information in order to be able to ascertain that truth to the best of our ability and not succumb to limited, subjective and erroneous conclusions foisted upon us by pernicious censorship.

The world is full of bias, bigotry, prejudice and false belief. Cognitive bias is an established fact of life. It is an integral part of our neurology. Habituation filters out that which is known and the more we ‘think’ we know, the greater that filter diminishes personal awareness and integrity.

We also live extremely comfortable lives perpetually seeking more security, comfort and freedom from inconvenience. We all want our lives to flow effortlessly without disruption, hardship or pain. We go to great lengths to ensure our convenience and our comfort. This quest has become the overriding principle and selling point of modern society: bottled water, smartphones, air-conditioning, take-away home delivery etc. The luxe lifestyle! The celeb world of the rich and famous.

Yet in this quest for indulgence, we are becoming weak. We are unprepared for the unexpected. We are becoming increasingly unable to handle challenge, hardship and the tide turning against us. We fight valiantly to maintain the ‘norm’ epitomised by this obsessive fear of an economic downturn or recession.

Whatever excuses are promulgated, inflation always follows money printing. Always has. Always will. Modern Monetary Theory is the cream on this cake of overindulgence. Excessive money printing and debt are symptoms of an overindulgent lifestyle resulting in eventual hyperinflation and economic hardship. The pendulum must swing and if we suppress its journey, like any spring, it will eventually react with more force.

The wheel of life must turn. The tide must ebb and flow. The cycles must fulfill themselves if life is to

continue. To stop the wheel turning is to resist the flow of life, to swim against the tide. A vainglorious expression of the arrogance of a deluded humanity.

For when the tide does eventually turn, when the yang, centripetal forces of contraction take over from the yin, centrifugal forces of expansion, as they must, we will see who is swimming naked as Warren Buffet has so eloquently stated.

The purpose of life is to learn to surf, to ride the wave of our own Tao, to be masters of our own destiny. But as any keen surfer knows only too well, any wave only lasts so long and eventually one must get off and ride another. The wise and experienced in life foresee when the tide is turning, when the wave has run its course, and get off in plenty of time.

There is no shame in frugality. There is no disgrace in lack as long as we do not get stuck there and make it a habit. The trick is not only to embrace the hard times but to turn within and make oneself stronger through adversity. To overcome the challenge and distil the wisdom and the learning inherent within that situation.

If we seek to cocoon ourselves within our artificial comfort zone by deluded complacency and smugness, we will not be ready to meet the challenges when they arrive. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. To accept the duality of material existence is to know both the yin and the yang, the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative. For they are merely the polar extremes of the eternal rhythm of life, which is the heartbeat of the universe, keeping us all safe.

Embrace that rhythm. Respect the unexpected. Enjoy the ride. Remember, the only constant in the universe is change. For without change, what would life be but a meaningless repetition of boredom. Is this really a desirable or viable alternative?

By respecting the unexpected we can be stronger than any adverse change in fate. We can harness that inner strength that will allow us in time to ride the next wave of good fortune. Do not be overcome by adversity, just view it as a natural part of the seasons of life.

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