That absolute mindset is particularly dangerous or limiting when we receive news or information that we find troubling. Still, we are the ones who decide. Do we keep looking for those outliers offering possibility? Or do we accept the first, often the most convenient, or the most authoritarian perspective we come across?
Harnessing the Power of Possibilities in Our Lives — Andrea Silvershein
Again—we are the ones who get to decide. I get it. Change can be scary and none of us likes to believe we live in an uncertain, let alone an unpredictable world. But whenever we try to impose stability on a world that is constantly changing, something has to give. And that something is most often our willingness to believe unusual things are possible. There are also people who, while not cynical, are still mindlessly accepting of these views.
A new approach to psychology and to our lives is needed because the naysayers—those who demand empirical evidence—are winning. Let me offer an example. I currently live in a country that is faced with challenges on the national and political scale that can appear troubling. Yet if I take the approach of the power of possibility as suggested by Langer, I have to ask myself—what is the good to be found in this situation? Can good come from it? A couple of very positive pieces coming out of our current administration are the large number of groups who are rallying for the first time ever.
Millions of women are starting to get involved in politics in ways never seen before. Those who believe in climate change are independently making commitments to do what is necessary to save our planet. And those who typically have only supported the conservative side of business are now standing up to promote equality and health care for all. Whenever we begin searching for the possible instead of just accepting what we already think we know, especially when negative, we move out of mindlessness and into what Langer calls mindful.
Instead, she believes it is staying open and curious to what is new right in front of us in every moment—and refusing to see it as we have before. One horse eating a hot dog. So our political climate might look messy or disastrous from one perspective, our health might be facing a huge challenge, our financial or relationship troubles might seem insurmountable, but that is because we are looking at them based upon what we think we know —not on what is possible. SMART Living is never finding the one perfect solution to living a happy life filled with meaning and purpose.
Things change. We change.
Instead, my goal here is to be a finger pointing at possibilities. Like Langer, I believe that when we view things optimistically and mindfully, we actually pay greater attention to all the possibilities, and then are better able to cooperate in the process. Thanks Kathy for useful information that you provided, We need such info from time to time in our life.
I enjoyed reading and I registered in your newsletter. Go ahead , great job. Your blog is very relevant to my life and is consistently uplifting. I just ordered one of her books. Hi Cicely! There is a lot of good happening in the world but I do think we need to remind each other of it all the time so that we can stay optimistic about our lives and the world.
And which book did you get by Ellen Langer? Thanks for checking in and saying hi! A great post. I try to practice mindfulness during my life after It helps me stay in the present moment and appreciate all that I have now. Hi Judy! Thanks for your comment. And I completely agree about mindfulness. It benefits me too in all sorts of way. Thanks Mimi! But I could tell that my readership was significantly lower on this post.
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Thank you for your feedback. I like to think of myself as an optimist, open to the possibilities that life offers when things are going well and when there are challenges. Langer provides a framework or context for that and gawd knows we need it these days! I just wish that more people who need to open their minds would read her work—and your post! Hi Roxanne! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. And I am glad you appreciated Langer too. She has some really amazing work and guess what? I will be writing more about her in the future. So much there I want to share and it was impossible to stick it in only one post.
Stay tuned for Part II. I enjoyed this post, and learned so much. We do live in troubling times, when political and social changes seem to turn on a dime. Keeping up is almost impossible!
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Carol W. Thank you both for these insights. Hi Diane!
I agree. There is a LOT going on in the world today and of course our own lives are very busy and complicated. If I can be part of that it always makes my day. Thanks as always for your comment. I agree that mindset, and choosing to focus on the positive, makes a huge difference! Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking and inspiring post! Hi Donna!
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Glad to hear you found it thought-provoking! Thanks for stopping by. This is interesting Kathy. I think many people like to label and pigeon hole people and ideas and like to use generalities. Like looking at the headline but not reading the story. I think of a cancer diagnosis and everyone from the postal carrier to your BFF telling what they know for sure and yet cancer is unique to every person so there is no for sure.
As always, very thought provoking! Hi Haralee! Thank you for providing a bit of personal experience to this post. Just never assume that they know everything, especially when it comes to your own body. As you say, everyone is unique and different things work for different people. She is also big on always getting second opinions and the more diverse the better. Community Conference. Share this event.
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