I don’t know about you, but it came as a real shock to me that it’s not always the brightest and best who  get the best results in life.  And it’s not about luck, or silver spoons.  When it comes down to it, what matters is what they listen to. This week, I’ve been reading the delightfully titled: “The Situation Is Hopeless But Not Serious – The Pursuit of Unhappiness”.  The author, Paul Watzlawick, had the bright idea of deconstructing the art and practice of making ourselves unhappy.  Rather well, IMHO. Watzlawick makes a telling distinction between sadness and depression.  He observes that ‘thick-headed and unimaginative types… hold the simplistic view that occasional sadness is part and parcel of every life. And if it is not over by tonight, it will be gone by tomorrow morning.” Depression, on the other hand ‘is something else.  It is ‘the ability to continue telling oneself what one was told in childhood, namely, that one has neither right nor reason to be sad.”  Now, this resonated with me because, in my experience both as a coach and as a living breathing human being, I had noticed that a great deal of iteration is required to keep bad feelings at the top of their game.  You have to: a)       Go back to the lesson(s) you learned – most commonly, in childhood - about your own inadequacies b)      Keep repeating them –unquestioningly – to yourself. Not for a moment would I deny how painful the process is.  But, still, it is a process of unconscious brain-washing of the self. When you are in that self-brainwashing mode, it’s very hard to heed what goes on outside you, and around you. Even more annoyingly, the ‘noise’ of that self-brainwashing deafens you to a belief in yourself. Because no matter how loud that depressed - and depressing – message may be, underneath it there is still a core of – all too quiet –self-belief. And that’s what struck me about the people who enjoy success, fulfilment and happiness: they aren’t listening to the depressing stuff.  Some started off with slightly less than most, but the majority simply learned to turn down the volume and forget about it. Somehow, they discovered that there is no law that says you MUST listen to the depressing stuff. There is no law that you have to give your attention to the stuff that makes you feel bad.  It’s not as if hearing it out even helps you to deal with it. Far from it. By the time you’ve given it a fair hearing, it’s ground you down. So, if there’s no point listening to that stuff, because it serves no useful purpose, what would you rather listen to? How about turning up the volume on the good stuff, instead?
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