There is No "Good" or "Bad" without Us

November 27, 2018

 

I just finished reading Ryan Holiday's book, The Obstacle is the Way, and he says that, "There is no good or bad without us. There is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means." One of his main points is that we waste too much time applying judgments to what has happened to us and to things we can't control (the event has already happened), when it would be far more useful and productive to focus on what is immediately in front of us and how we want to respond to the event in a way that is more productive and creates more happiness/peace (or at least doesn't compound suffering).

 

Ryan reminds us that, "We choose how we'll look at things. We retain the ability to inject perspective into a situation. We can't change the obstacles themselves -- that part of the equation is already set-- but the power of perspective can change how the obstacles appear. How we approach, view, and conceptualize an obstacle, and what we tell ourselves; determines how daunting and trying it will be to overcome."

 

We all have our stories/perceptions. I believe that holding onto them, fighting over them, pointing fingers and trying to assign blame, is often unhelpful. Fighting to be "right" so that I can be a "winner" and the other person a "loser," only serves to boost my ego, making me feel proud and justified; while leaving the other person feeling trampled, angry and wanting revenge.

 

Holding onto our stories serves to divide/separate and can fuel war. How can we instead choose to view the situation from another perspective, perhaps with a bit more empathy? What might we have missed? What would it be like to let the stories/judgments go?

 

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