“You always do what you want to do.” (W.C. Stone)
Perhaps if I approached my negative, pessimistic tendencies as I would a substance addiction, I would have more success recognizing and beating them.
What does an alcoholic do to beat their condition? There are different step schemes, but they follow a general progression. First admit the problem, second get the help you need, third you need to know that it is a disease in which the only hope you have to beat it is to abstain from it completely, fourth quit and don’t look back. This last step is probably where I fall short and end up back at one. Why is that? That’s the worst place to stop.
Matthew Kelly said when you get to a critical choice and it is difficult to decide what action to take, decide based on this question: “Which one will make a better me?” At a crossroads, this makes it much easier to decide which way is right. From there it takes courage to follow that way. I think acting on this is key to recovering from pessimism—I will be forced to see that I have more control, more time, more choice, and more willpower than I thought possible.
Even depression can be turned into energy to make the situation better. W.C. Stone said that the Depression era in America did not hinder his productivity but rather increased it, and expanded his business because his team was inspired to action out of necessity rather than just willpower or other rewards. I have a fear that if I really was in the greatest state of necessity, I would fold. Got to shake that off! I also have a competing hunch that in that state of necessity, I’d be there in the clutch.
Maybe Patton’s treatment for shell-shock and courage under fire is applicable to many situations like this: “When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment ago was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do.” The right passion meets the right fear and ignites action.
I suppose I won’t have war stories if I don’t push my way to the front lines.