So how do you not worry about stuff? The problem here I reckon is, that we human beings are hard-wired to think!
I guess that the common consensus is still more or less, that the human brain is divided roughly into two halves, or hemispheres, and one side is for emotional kinds of things and the other logical. Some people have predominate left or right, etc. etc; our great geniuses of the world are thought to be very well connected between the hemispheres. This is perhaps accepted by most people.
I would also throw into the mix Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance, and you can then begin to see what happens when you start worrying: We are so well connected that big important things always come to the fore, and you can’t so easily forget about them, and put them to one side, because they just fill our heads up. Compartmentalising then? Not so easy?
Well, there are nonetheless some very practical solutions that I think we can all learn quickly and easily.
They say that women can multitask and men can’t. Men can only think about one thing at a time. True? Probably yes!
Concentration, in our modern online world, can be hard at the best of times. Escaping Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat et al becoming elusive for many of us mere mortals. Procrastination has become a common word.
Compartmentalising, though, is a way of being able to focus on one thing at a time, and managing to block out the rest. Something which the autistic, those with Asperger’s, the egocentric and psychopathic seem to manage without effort. So, how might we learn from them, to beneficial affect?
Perhaps we could take something from Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and emulate the kind of behaviour and thought processing. Just by using a bit of imagination. Most of us, when we have a problem with problem A, can only think about problem A and nothing else; making it into something incredibly disabilitating. On the other hand a psychopath, when given problem A, will still focus on problem B totally.
How can we learn?
I am a musician. I’ve always been a musician. I guess I will always be a musician. Even if my life and work is now very different to what it was, what is now nearly 40 years ago, I still think as a musician. At least I think I do!
I remember when I was still at school, about when I was 14, studying the piano with my teacher Richard Deering – I think now how frustrated he must have been – but it was with him I learnt how to learn. For me, at that time, I recognised it as being a bit of a watershed moment. Well, perhaps it wasn’t just learning how to learn, but more like being able to show and demonstrate that you’ve studied. A fine distinction I know, but a distinction none the less.
Before this moment, I studied, I had the intention, but I hadn’t the ability of going about it the right way. In reality, it’s no great deal, and pretty obvious in fact. But when it’s you who’s doing it, nothing is obvious.
I remember him telling me, that I mustn’t continue when you make a mistake, but go back and do it again. Simple. Yes. Well no, not really. Because when you’re doing something to the limit of your ability, it’s not easy to think analytically. But, one week, I just forced myself, every time I made a mistake just to stop and go back to the beginning of the line; slowly working my way through the piece. It’s a bit like watching grass grow; nothing seems to happen. But I remember at the next lesson, when I played my piece, he said, ‘Good!’ That was not usual! Then he asked me how I’d studied it, and I told him, and he said again, ‘Good!’ He then gave me some other tips of how I might go about studying etc. But I was really amazed. I never thought it was possible that I could be doing it right.
So when you’re studying music, it’s important to work at small bits at a time. It’s like climbing a mountain – it’s too much to do all at once and you can’t take it all in, and it becomes just overwhelming. And just as using these strategies for learning other things apart from music, it can easily be transferred and used to address just about everything, including sorting out our problems and worries.
This is how life works. If you don’t focus on very small parts of it at a time, it can easily get just too much!
We are all different, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, and having success is also just the same.
So ideally, when you have success in one particular field or other, the thing is to then, if possible, transfer your knowledge and understanding to the new areas and things you want to address in life.
For example, if you want to learn a new language and you have no idea about how to go about it successfully and you don’t have any experience of learning new or academic things and have never had any success in doing anything like it, a good starting point would be to start thinking about what you do do, and have already learnt to do well.
If you have difficulty in learning new things, for instance a foreign language or other skill, but have to, or God forbid want to do it, a good strategy would be to take what you do well and transfer it to the new thing. So, let’s imagine you learning French, and are rubbish at it, but are really good at skateboarding, you’d need to think back to when you started skateboarding and how you went about it: what did you do; you watched your friends, you had a go, you fell off, you tried again etc. Perhaps your friends don’t speak French, and you’re older; so perhaps you’d join a French course. Obviously we’re thinking more about the mentality rather than the exact skills, but all the same it’s a starting point.
Therefore, if you wanted to learn French, you’d have to do what you did when you started skateboarding: look at the other skateboarders and try to emulate what they were doing: In the French class you need to look at the good learners and try to emulate; what is it they do; what do they think about; what did you do when you started skateboarding; what did you think about when you were doing that?
Even if you don’t get the right answers straight away though, you’ve still started doing something positive, and you’re well on track to discovering how to then seek out a better strategy.
However, when you don’t have your own, ‘Success strategies,’ that’s the time to look around, start reading a bit; look on the internet: Get an idea of what’s out there, and start experimenting with a few different schemes and work out what works for you.
How to Be Happy
I would argue that everything is connected one way or another, be it doing things, work or learning, or how we feel, being successful or being happy.
Going back a little to what I was saying before about learning new things, and my own experiences of learning how to be good at something, or perhaps showing others the difference you’ve made and that you have been working: in music to able to demonstrate that you’ve practiced it and you can play it properly; in learning to show that you’ve studied, be able to memorise things sufficiently and be able to rattle them off in a convincing way to those who are judging you. Notice here, that I’m not really talking about intelligence, or special skills nor even ability; just a matter of applying yourself, and using what you have to its best advantage.
All these things can be used to achieve the sense of success and happiness.
I suppose it’s not easy to be happy. In fact sometimes it seems that the natural human state is a permanent one of unhappiness and anxiety.
What I have always found though, over the years, is that to have a sense of direction and purpose is key to escape desperation and worry and start feeling positive and energised about the future. Happiness? For me, I think yes. That and a sense of being safe and secure.
Whittling it down to it’s crux, life is a journey not a destination. The destination being the end! We want to feel as if we have a purpose, and are needed, and to be free of fear.
Life then chucks all sorts of sticks in the wheels and … help.
The winding trail of emotional happiness and fulfilment
Thinking back to my own past, and when I found myself at times when things had gone wrong – finding myself out of work for example. I’m a man so money and work often seems to top everything in the happiness stakes.
So far in my life I’ve been lucky enough I haven’t had so many relationship upheavals – I’ve managed to weave my way along this winding trail of emotional happiness and fulfilment of life more or less successfully. I’ve heard it said, ‘It doesn’t matter who you go to bed with, you always wake up with yourself.’
But typically, I think, that also being financially stable and having a sense of value and purpose are also paramount.
In the past when I found myself in situations where things weren’t going right, I would throw myself into a hive of activity; practicing like mad (being a musician) and looking for work opportunities – things always seemed to work out okay in the end. But I was young. With age and responsibility things tend to get harder. That’s for sure.