Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Master the phrase "It Is What It Is."

"It is what it is," will get you through most things in life. "It is what it is" frees you to take things for what they really are. Unfortunately, this is not what we tend to do. If you have an illness, or if you have a problem at work, or if you are having relationship problems -- whatever your situation is, it's important to realize this simple fact; "it is what is it."

When something happens in our lives, we over-analyze it in our minds. Say, for example, you had a falling out with a close friend, because of the lies they kept telling. Rather than say "He lied. I'm disappointed, it is what it is," we instead elaborate on the story. We tell our partners, our friends, our colleagues, our gym buddies, we crave that attention of telling the story. Here is your story..

"And get this. I lent him $1000, and I lent him my car. Six months has gone by, he smashed up my car and didn't repair it.. so now I am down $1000 and a car. And he told Mark that he would pay me but we both know he isn't going to pay me. He doesn't have the money and he doesn't care anyway..."

You've told this story 87 times now. Have you noticed when you tell this story, you get a little feeling inside? It's a feeling of superiority, a little feeling that says, "hey, I am right! I am angry! This is an injustice! Why does it always happen to me? Typical." - you get this feeling every time you share your story.

Here's the problem. Right now you're telling this story to your Aunt and Uncle over Sunday dinner, and you're getting all angered and emotional for the 88th time. However, the person who took you $1000 and broke your car is sitting with their family drinking wine and relaxing, whilst watching TV.

So, if they're not getting angry. Why are you? What purpose does it serve you to tell your story to anyone who will listen? It might make you feel good, and right for about five minutes-- but it doesn't get you anywhere.

So here's what you should do. Say to yourself, "agh man, he took my money and smashed up my car. I feel really let down." and then say to yourself, "well, it is what it is." Because that's all it is. It is, what it is. It's a bunch of notes and a bunch of metal. It may be important to you; but it's got nothing to do with the life you have with your friends and partner and Aunt and Uncle and gym buddies, nothing at all!

OF COURSE, you are angry about what happened, and of course, you've been done wrong by someone you trusted. But that was as true the day it happened as it was six months later when you were still telling the story, and still arguing with yourself in the head.

IT IS WHAT IT IS. By reminding yourself that it is what it is, you give yourself permission to deal with things in the present moment, rather than carry the heavy weight of your past feelings and emotions on the matter.

"It is what it is," means a) I'll go and get my $1000 back and extra for my car, or b) I will forgive him and move on, or c) I will forget about it as it is in the past.

That is all you need to do. By repeatedly telling the story of your injustice, to yourself and to others; you only strengthen the unhappiness in you, it serves no actual purpose. So why torture yourself?.

You failed an exam?
It is what it is.
You chipped a tooth?
It is what it is.
You lost your wallet?
It is what it is.
The one you loved moved on?
It is what it is.

This means: What happened, happened. It is in the past. Now I am in this moment. What can I do right now to carry on my life?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Finders, Keepers.

Ever laughed at someone who picked up a couple of cents from the sidewalk? I have. I had a friend who would always do it. I would get this embarassed feeling from being around him, it would make me feel really awkward. It didn't bother him. Five seconds later, of course, the strangers in the street who I felt embarassed in front of no longer existed in my life. But my friend had made one cent.

When he got home every night, he'd empty out his pockets and any spare change he had he'd put in this old water bottle.

We both never had much money in those days. And I used to moan about it a lot. I'd moan about the lack of opportunities, the lack of work, the lack of everything. But there was money right in front of me. If I was to go into the street right now, I'd find heaps of change in a matter of minutes. I'm not suggesting we should all go out into the streets and hunt down money, but I do suggest a slight change in approach to these things.

What made me feel awkward in front of my friend was that feeling of 'that's pathetic' or 'I don't want to look like the type of person who picks change off of the sidewalk.' Well that's my ego talking. That's the same ego that feels inferior of big scary jobs and the same ego that thinks I'm too good to be cleaning toilets for a living. Well, I need to get past that ego. I need to realize it's not real. It's a thing in my head that has been holding me back and will continue to do so for years.

So, a few months after the incident in the road, I was pretty hard up for cash. And so was my friend. But then he emptied out his big container and a few other little pots of pennies he had around his apartment. I did the same in my apartment.

Well, I found $23. I was quite proud of that. My friend found that he had $742. He says that about $500 of that was from picking up money that was left around, over many years. That might sound crazy, but it's really not that unrealistic.

If you ask anyone who keeps a jar for spare change, they'll find no trouble in coming up with $50 every few months. Just think, if you consciously make the effort to put a few little coins in a jar, and you get over being afraid of the coins near the gutter; then you'll have begun to change your mindset.

You need to change your relationship with money. And you can do it by realizing that one cent gained is one cent nearer to being where you want to be financially.