The other day I found a new gear in my skiing. Literally I have gone from really slow and fearful on the easiest green runs, to gradually adding a blue run (intermediate level) to just relaxing and flying down the mountain. Some switch flipped and there I was feeling so free with the speed. It happened.
Last year I spent a whole huge wad of money to go to arguably the best ski resort in the world, Whistler-Blackcomb, tried to get back to snowboarding at age 65 after not seeing snow for two decades, ended up on icy narrow runs, fell repeatedly, was so destroyed an hour in that the rest of day was ruined by me ending up in the medical clinic getting x-rays.
What is changing in me? I am not exactly sure, but something is positive. Hooray!! First let’s go back in history nearly 20 years. Over that time I was fired three times in three different countries on three different continents. You may think being fired is not traumatic because maybe it isn’t for you. It was for me. It was the thing I most feared. Why? Imagine yourself on another continent where you are full of hope about your future, you are making a decent living, and then one day the plug gets pulled. The fear has a lot to do with putting food on the table and being a long way from home. When I wasn’t earning, I was worrying a lot about the future. I got used to seeing the worst case scenario and then trying to protect myself from it. That is exactly what happened in the snowboarding crashes. The worst case thinking scenarios took over. I froze up and was fired. I crashed myself.
This post is not about blame. I could rant on with truckloads of blame, but the fact of the matter is, I turned from being a person who sees a relatively positive future to protecting myself from the worst case scenario. It is a bad way to live. Believe me. Don’t do it!!! It is quite understandable after a history of dismissals. I am not whining. I was just not as positive as I used to be after the third time. I won’t go into the reasons for the firings. In my opinion I was right and they were wrong. In their opinion I was wrong and they were right. Either case, I ended up in the emotional train wreck of seeing the worst case scenario and protecting myself from it.
Then a magnificent thing happened. I retired. Well at least I retired from the kind of work I was doing. When I first retired, I spent a lot of months waiting for the other shoe to drop again. Only the only shoe dropping was being done by me as in the case of snowboarding. No one was firing me or threatening me except myself. It dawned on me today that the reason that the first day of skiing was so painfully fearful was that the way I had been looking at the future was just hugely in the worst case scenario and then tensing to try to prevent it from happening. If you would have seen me going down the runs the first couple of times, you could have spotted it plain as day.
Gradually it shifted. The protective part of me realized that maybe it was overworking. It didn’t need to be there anymore (if it ever did). Now I am making the shift to the other type of future, the best case scenario. It was never for me as if the best case scenario about my life didn’t exist. It did. It was more like the worst case scenario thinking was hugely dominant. How I planned to do my life upon retirement is exactly how I am living it, but now when I get on the ski slopes or tennis courts or do therapy with people, the best case scenario is so apparent. It is becoming the dominant force.
How to do it? I suppose that each person has their own unique roadblocks that they have to overcome in the way of fear and other negative emotions, but really the essential aspect of it is to see the best possible future, the best outcome, and then have an absolute belief that you can make it there. What is my best future? How does it benefit humanity? Those are the two essential questions. You have to do the second question because we are hard-wired that way. A self-serving life will crash.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST CASE SCENARIO AS YOU GO OUT TO DO WHAT YOU DO TOMORROW?