I am done with positive psychology.
I know, quite a shocking statement, specially since I cannot claim to be a specialist of this kind of psychology, or of any other kind. Since I have not studied the subject properly, I guess I am more done with the interpretation of positive psychology we can nowadays easily find in magazines, self-help books and all over the Internets than of the real thing.
So don’t get me wrong: I’m still all in when it comes to being optimistic and grateful, cultivating the light and enjoying the present moment. I believe we are much more powerful than we think, and I am convinced we can, have to make this place a better, safer place for all of us.
What I am tired of is believing we can do it simply by dreaming about a better version of ourselves and thinking positive. I’m over all that talking about visualizing our goals and thinking that positive intentions will get us there, or that we can control our destiny. I don’t want to see one more speech about the power of our mind when it comes to becoming that richer, thinner, happier person.
“The philosophy of positive thinking means being untruthful; it means being dishonest. It means seeing a certain thing and yet denying what you have seen; it means deceiving yourself and others.” – Osho
There is no secret guys. What you see is what you get. If you want a better job, stop visualizing yourself working in a perfect office full of light only four hours a day so that you have enough time to have brunch with your friends before and go for a job after, that perfect office of course also offering you free coffee and great cookies. That place doesn’t exist. It will not become real unless you make your own luck. And even if you work very, very hard, it still might not happen. You are not the master of the world.
I’ve lost so much time elaborating my vision, thinking how it would be if it was perfect, about what I really, deeply wanted to become, reflecting on my purpose. Dreaming about this kind of life, than this other life, to think that maybe after all I might be happier if I was heading that way. I was so focused on not making a mistake while visualizing my life, because I had been told it was so important, that I had to know. Now I don’t care anymore. In fact, I don’t believe we actually know where we want to go, or where we should be heading. I’m pretty sure we are fooling ourselves when we think we know better.
When life becomes creative
Over the week, I’ve been immersed into this crazy fun pool of ideas around creativity, design thinking, and innovation. The biggest lesson I got from those experiences is that there is still something we cannot quite describe. There is some magic involved in every creative process, and there is something great about not knowing where you will exactly arrive at the end. You just have to trust that you will get somewhere, that it will be worth it.
The excitement that comes from this very process is in fact related to the not-knowing part. Whether you choose to play with words, make something out of play dough or go talk to perfect strangers in the street, you discover that there is a world of possibilities within a single field of exploration. Your universe moves from the known to the unknown. It expands.
That’s why I am done with self-development, or any related idea that tells me that I should know where I am heading, that I should have a clear vision of my goals and focus all of my energy on crushing them. This feels way too restrictive as well as very boring. My life is not a project to manage. It has nothing to do with a Gantt chart I can fix deadlines, finish something before moving on to the next phase. My path cannot be mapped out, there is no clear destination and definitely more than three alternative ways.
Your inner compass as the only guide
What I need is not a Google Maps, it’s a compass. An inner compass with my values as the magnet, that will tell me where to head, that keeps me aligned and grounded, that doesn’t make me late if I stopped somewhere down the road to enjoy the warm rays of the sun. I can’t be late because there is simply nowhere to go, only a direction to follow if I want to grow.
This year, I’ve become a woman, literally and metaphorically. This is something I could not plan, something that I had no control over, much like falling into the hole of depression in high school, being tortured by Ed and finding the love of my life. It’s not the kind of thing you can prepare yourself for, you simply have to take it when it happens. In all those situations, control is an illusion, you just go with the flow.
Feeling strong and embracing being a woman completely changed my perspective on life: it changed the way I see myself, my priorities as well as my self-confidence and faith in the world. There is no way I can keep on walking towards the vision I had created two years ago for myself. Damn, I am not the same person. We have no fixed identity, that’s what makes life so interesting. By doing, by being, trying, playing, creating, we constantly re-actualize who we are.
Life is much more complex, infinite, subtile, delicate, beautiful and profound than we can ever imagine or visualize. We do have to keep walking in some direction if we want to challenge ourselves and learn, however always keeping in mind that sometimes, we have to let the magic happen #serendipity. Our true mission throughout our journey here is to recognize, not visualize the opportunities we get, seize them and live a courageous, creative life being the most badass version of ourselves.