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We’re in this together

cross“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” –Friedrich Nietzsche 

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” -Nelson Mandela

Who is this mysterious character that has somehow managed to avoid being wounded by the sting of death?

Where is this great object of the world’s envy who has neither tasted defeat nor known the experience of love lost?

Show me the man who’s never had his heart broken by love unreciprocated?

Show me the woman who has never know the pain of feeling invisible?

Show me the child who has never had to forgive their parents for some great sin of commission or omission?

We are all victims of someone or something.

I do not know your pain, but it is also true that you do not know mine.

My life would crush you beneath its feet were you required to live it. And I am more than certain that I would have long been dead had I been required to carry the burdens that were designed for you.

We are all rooted in the human condition.

We all wear a unique crown of suffering.

We all have our crosses to bear.

Why insult one another’s humanity by raving righteously about how one man’s cross is heavier than another’s?

You carry your cross, I’ll carry mine, and let us walk beside each other as brothers, as sisters, as kinsfolk. And perhaps we can laugh together, shed tears together, share stories together, and even uphold our heavy loads together, but the emphasis, above all else, will be on our togetherness.

For this is what it means to be human: to know that, in all things, we are fundamentally together.

86% of your week is problem free

Conflict is an idea that exist primarily in the mind. As I minimize conflict in my thoughts, I reduce conflict in my experience.

90% mind, 10% matter

Have you ever heard the idea that your world is 90% mind, 10% matter?

It’s been well said that “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. Let’s really think about this for a moment, because this would be a very important concept if it’s actually true.

Even if we can’t do anything about 10% of our lives, 90% is still an awfully high percentage to maintain control over. Most people I know would be thrilled if they could just improve their lives by a mere 50%.

What’s the bottom line?

Let’s conduct a thought experiment.

Close your eyes and imagine an unpleasant experience from your past. It can be an argument with a friend, an embarrassing moment at work, whatever makes you feel unpleasant. Take your time and relive that experience thoroughly. Done?

Now ask yourself “how long was that event in real-time?” How much time did you actually spend arguing with your friend or embarrassing yourself at work? Please keep in mind the fact that I am not asking you to measure how long the problem affected you? I only want you to calculate how long the physical event of being in the presence of the problem actually lasted.

Do the math

While most of our unpleasant experiences may be relatively short-lived, let’s just assume that your experience lasted for a full, non-stop, uninterrupted period of 24hrs.

Now take 24hrs and divide that by the number of hours you’ve lived in the past week (168hrs per week).

24hrs/168hrs= 0.14

So that problem, measured as a physical event, constitutes about 14% of your life in the past week alone.

Is this not astonishing?

How can an unpleasant event that only comprises a meager 14% of our entire week, dominate our whole lives?

In Tomorrow’s post, I’ll give my two cents on why we allow “the 14%”, or what Richard Carlson called “the small stuff”, to push us around and block us from the life of happiness that is rightfully ours.

I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime, keep your head up.

Cheers 🙂

T.K. Coleman

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