To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
Fear of the unknown has a way of playing with our minds and causing us to become filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt and a build up of stress, but as Buddha is quoted above, this doesn’t have to be the case if we can control our thoughts.
Events that are outside of our control can create a sense of panic and fear of the unknown. The reality is the only thing we truly have control over one hundred percent of the time is how we carry ourselves, how we respond to each situation and how we perceive what is going on.
For example, when driving on a stretch of interstate we’ve never navigated before, one that is full of curves, hills and valleys, we are never quite sure what will be around the next corner, but just as we continue to drive forward to see what is around the bend, we must stride forward in our lives to see what it is we are facing. Only when we know what we are up against can we create a strategy to overcome it.
After all, when we spend time worrying, it is a combination of knowing something is outside of our control and not having the experience or knowledge to be certain of what will occur. But what does worry really achieve? Nothing.
The moment you find yourself worrying about any given situation – a relationship, money, a job, etc – use it as an indicator to become more educated on what you don’t know. Fearful of losing your job? Start acquiring more and necessary skills that are invaluable. Worried about retirement? Start cutting your spending and looking into how to better invest your money. Not sure you should trust someone? Slow down and get to know them better before you share yourself.
Knowledge and experience is power and immediately eliminates worry and the unknowns. It is true – we will never be able to control or know everything, but we can equip ourselves to the best of our ability by seeking out the necessary resources.
After you are well on the path to gaining as much experience and knowledge as you can, it is now your responsibility to control your thoughts. First and foremost, don’t create more problems, instead consistently practice habits that are moving you in a positive direction. Second, focus on today and doing your best in the moment. No matter how mundane the task may be, do your best. Proceed with confidence even if you might be a bit unsure. Arthur Ashe reminds us that appearances have power:
“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.”
And most importantly, if you do still have fear inside of you, use it to your benefit and not the other way around:
“A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” –Oscar Wilde
“Control is never achieved when sought after directly. It is the surprising outcome of letting go.”
-James Arthur Ray
Have a beautiful Monday.