19 May How To Stop Running Away From Your Problems
It’s a fact of life.
And normally, when it strikes, people do one of two things:
1. They face it.
2. They run away.
However, most people nowadays do the latter.
Humans are wimps, to say the least.
We escape to tropical islands, sign up for meditation retreats, drink alcohol, take spa weekends, hide in a corner with self-help books, get massages from strangers, and float in sensory deprivation tanks, all in an effort to alleviate life’s issues.
Of course, we’re too stupid to fill up our own bath tubs, sprinkle them with salt, and relax in our own home, thus saving us $100 on a float tank.
Humans, to that end, are fucking stupid.
Sorry, if that was a completely unrelated, mind fuck of a side note. ;-O
Okay, back to the point of this article: running away from life’s problems doesn’t solve them. It exacerbates them.
How many times have you exclaimed, “peace, bitches!” to your colleagues, and left for a two week vacation in paradise, only to come back to the same shitty boss, lifeless cubicle, and bitter office coffee?
When you thought a vacation would be the panacea to your work problems, it turned out to be a soggy band-aid that was a temporary fix to your wounds.
Your shitty boss didn’t turn into a saint.
Your cubicle didn’t turn into a animated disco.
Your company didn’t start serving high quality Colombian coffee.
You went on vacation and came back to the same old shitty shit.
You’re disappointed, frustrated, and pissed off that life’s problems weren’t solved.
And here’s what gets me the most: why does any of this surprise you?
I mean come on. You leave to have pina coladas on the beach, sit on your ass, scroll through your phone, SnapChat your friends how awesome your life is, and gobble down all-inclusive buffets.
Last I looked, none of these are actionable steps to solving your problems.
So I beg you to stop running from them and start facing them.
True, actionable solutions to problems:
– Confronting someone, instead of being passive aggressive and hoping they can read your mind.
– Demanding your boss treats you with respect, instead of doing nothing and hoping he gets the message.
– Asking your coach why you aren’t getting playing time, instead of complaining to your parents in the car rides home.
– Asking your coach for feedback, and taking action on those weaknesses to get better.
– Saying no to hanging out with someone who sucks your energy, instead of saying yes because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
– Stating your needs to a significant other, instead of internalizing them and being like, “I can’t believe he doesn’t do this for me!”
Of course, these examples are just glossing over the tip of the iceberg.
Man, do we all need to grow a pair.
Bringing the conversation to the soccer world, if my team was ever losing, I would never say, “to hell with this” and storm off the field and hit up Taco Tuesday. Instead of avoiding the shitty situation, I leaned into the adversity and played my heart out.
I’m sure you can come up with analogies in your own life, whether this is through sports, career, business, academics, or relationships.
A great book I’ve read on this topic is Work, Sex, Money: Real Life On The Path To Mindfulness.
What I loved most about this book is it discusses how people can find meditation and flow in their work lives. Even during life’s stressors, it’s possible to find a glimmer of hope in every situation.
Moreover, we can escape reality…while being in reality. <— sorry if that sounded like a LSD trip.
But seriously. In order to do this, you don’t need to go on a mediation retreat, or in a flotation tank, or to a spa.
All you have to do is be present.
Coming back to the shitty boss example, yeah. This sucks. But can you adopt a compassionate mindset and understand why your boss is acting this way? Maybe he has a bad marriage. Maybe he has deadlines. Maybe his job is on the line.
True masters understand why crappy people are the way they are, and why negative things happen. Be compassionate. With compassion, comes understanding. And with understanding, comes presence. And with presence, comes happiness.
Moving on, none of this is to say don’t take vacation, don’t meditate, don’t float in a tank, don’t get a massage, don’t get your nails done.
Just don’t rely on these as the cure-all to your problems. Vacations, meditation, float tanks, you name it, have their place in opening people’s minds and offering new, creative experiences. All good stuff.
But the moment we depend on escaping, is the moment we forget how to take action.