Recently I came across a column by Martha Beck about the life lessons we need to “unlearn” if we are to attain a sense of satisfaction in our lives. Her list of ten are a good reminder for us to rethink those “truths” we hold close. Here’s Beck’s retake on some old lessons:
- Problems are bad. …Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution…
- It’s important to stay happy. … say, “It’s okay to be as sad as I need to be.” This kind of permission to feel as we feel — not continuous happiness — is the foundation of well-being.
- I’m irreparably damaged by my past. Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out they’re largely erasable…
- Working hard leads to success. …So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption… Play, not work, is the key to success….
- Success is the opposite of failure. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.
- It matters what people think of me. ….imagine what you’d do if it absolutely didn’t matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back.
- We should think rationally about our decisions. Often complex problems are best solved by thinking like an animal… Instead of weighing pros and cons intellectually, notice your physical response to each option. Pay attention to when your body tenses or relaxes.
- The pretty girls [people] get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true….While everyone’s looking at them, virtually no one sees them.
- If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect. … good fortune has side effects…
- Loss is terrible. …Live your truth, losses be damned.
To read Martha Beck’s comments in full, her column appeared in the Huffington Post: “Life Lessons to Unlearn.”