One of my friends (actual friends:)) on Facebook posted this the other day. What popped into my head after reading it is “how DOES my headline read?” And the realization that came with that is that I GET TO DECIDE how it reads!
How my headline reads depends on how I choose to see things as they unfold. Victor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Nazi death camps. He wrote many books including one about his experience of surviving that unspeakably horrible experience. He created logotherapy or healing through meaning. Through his experiences during the Holocaust, he was able to see how it’s not the circumstance that you’re in that makes your reality; it’s what meaning you give your circumstance that determines your reality.
What determines the meaning we make?
It’s our level of resourcefulness. If we’re in fight/flight, we won’t be very resourceful and our ability to make meaning will be limited. We’ll tend to see the situation from only one definitive “real” perspective. It’s like when you’re having an argument with someone and you’re trying to make them see that they’re wrong and you’re right.
If however we’re resourceful in that we have access to more inner energy, strength, fortitude and wherewithal, then our capacity for perspectives skyrockets. With each perspective you’re able to take, your energy increases. And seeing things from a variety of perspectives gives us the chance to create a better meaning for ourselves. It’s what Victor Frankl was able to do.
From a better meaning comes a deeper, richer more fulfilling experience of life. And then we’re able to test out boundaries and limitations.
Tim Ferriss says that “Reality is largely negotiable.” He says that “If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.” If you only hold one perspective, you won’t be able to stress-test and experiment and reality will be non-negotiable.
Maybe through our current social crisis you’ve been merely surviving. Maybe you’ve been exploring how your life can be different. Even the way you have seen all of it unfolding, the virus, the lockdown, all of it, you’ve experienced and made meaning for yourself, consciously or not.
We get to decide what meaning we make of this time in our lives. How will you greet this challenge? How are you stress-testing the boundaries and experimenting with “impossibles”?
For myself, I’ve attempted to avoid media as much as possible, both mainstream and social. I don’t want to be continually told what to think about what’s going on. How I make meaning is up to me, no one else. I’m also challenging myself to think differently and behave differently in terms of how I spend my time (I’ve cut down on watching TV tremendously) and where I put my energy during the day. I’m challenging myself to grow, to become more accountable and more engaged in life, and to double down on creating a legacy of contribution (what I’m here to do).
I’d love to hear from you, as to how have you been making meaning in your life and what have been the results? How have you been stress-testing the boundaries and experimenting with “impossibles”? Please share in the comments below!