In the first section, we looked at the case of a former colleague of mine, John, who was having a tough time managing his work-life balance. John had a huge meeting with an important client, but on the morning of, he found no shortage of distractions on his way to the office. As a result of those distractions, his state was lowered, inhibiting his effectiveness. In this section, I want to get into the details of how John could have done a better job of managing his state, but also how he can take active measures in all aspects of his life to ensure that when life gets in the way, he’s in a mental position to handle whatever is thrown at him without getting thrown off-task.
Restless infant, heavy rain, bad traffic -- these things may seem to John as if they are happening “to him,” that somehow they are part of a universal conspiration designed to bring him down. John is allowing the events of his day to play out in front of him as if he is a passive observer, a worker inspecting moments that zoom by him on a conveyor belt, sorting them into good or bad bins as they pass. What many of us fail to realize along with John, is that when we rush to judge an event before the entirety of its weight has been realized, we are limiting the possible outcomes. By giving in to the impulse to call an event negative as it is unfolding, we are subconsciously scanning our memories for similar experiences in order to file away this particular instance as we comprehend it. The idea that we shouldn’t rush to do this may seem counterintuitive because we are accustomed to understanding that a bad event is indeed bad. The problem is we don’t allow ourselves to view these instances within a vacuum and our mind seeks to validate the already dubbed “badness” of the event by stringing it to the events that follow it, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of negativity that we can rationalize as “bad luck.” Similarly, by deciding that an event is bad, we close ourselves off to the possibility that there is another, wider viewfinder we should be examining it through. In other words, by training your mind to view events at face value and not rush to separate them into good or bad, we allow for a wider breadth of possible outcomes, including ones that may frame the entire context in which the events took place in a positive light.
Okay, there was traffic and heavy rain and John didn’t sleep as well as he’d hoped. That only tells one part of the story, and it leaves out the most important event of the day: his meeting. What if, instead of bringing that negativity into the office, John focused on what he needed to get done at work, creating stronger odds of the meeting going well? John’s higher state would help him overcome the negativity of those other events, allowing him to reflect on the morning in its entirety, which after a successful meeting, would be considered an unbridled success. Fine, Taran, you might say, bully for John, but how do I, in concrete terms, make those changes for myself?
The first thing we need to do is rewire our brains. I recognize this is no small task, but it can and in fact does begin with a tiny realigning of the way we interpret our own experiences. Instead of correlating things with luck, which plays a factor in our successes and failures and happens to you, I’d ask you to reframe your understanding of your immediate world through your own super potentiality. Super potentiality is the concept that your state has an active, direct effect on the events in your life, and most importantly allows you the agency to filter these events through a lens polished on your terms. On a subconscious level, when your brain makes a value judgment on an event, essentially assigning it a score, it then works to rationalize that score. So if your brain has decided an event deserves a negative mark, instead of working to turn things around, your brain actually attempts to prove that initial diagnosis correct, oftentimes to your detriment. What a more level and advanced state does is allow you to stick your proverbial foot in the ground, batton down the hatches, and endure, reserving judgment until you have all the data of a finished product. In doing so, you will not be phased by the little things.
If it helps, think of yourself as a car, and of the suspension as your state. Inside of a low-riding sports car, you’re much more susceptible to small bumps in the road (literally). Every pothole or piece of debris feels and sounds as if you’ll need to abandon the rest of your day and head straight to a mechanic. Conversely, inside the cab of a pickup truck, one with a high suspension specifically designed to persevere through adverse conditions, suddenly those bumps and potholes don’t register. It’s only at your final destination that you even consider taking a peek to make sure that everything is okay.
Now that I’ve asked you to picture yourself as a car, I’m going to again request that you suspend belief, or rather, that you momentarily put aside what you hold steadfast and take a journey with me down a separate path. We are constantly at ends with reality, or perhaps the idea of reality. Throughout our lives, we have innumerable experiences that weave together to form the safety blanket of what we understand to be real. What if instead of being weaved for us, that blanket was weaved by us. I’m not suggesting that if the reality of your bank account is that it has five digits that you can add a zero at the end simply by wishing it so. Rather, what I am suggesting is that the reality we believe has been constructed for us, can be altered by a change in approach to our lives, which first begins with a change in state. We can’t change our reality by playing God, but we can drastically rearrange the way we interpret the things that happen in our lives through that improved state, thus effectually altering our reality to more positively reflect our place in the world.